Malawi: NLS Building Digital Library to Improve Book Access, Promote Reading Culture

State-financed National Library Service (NLS) has disclosed that it is in the process of building a digital library to address challenges researchers and learners face to access books in their various fields.

NLS Acting Chief Librarian Officer, Bonney Sangole, speaking at Kalambo Full Primary School Ground during the ‘Reading Promotion Event’ on Friday, said a digital library would also play a crucial role in promoting reading culture among both learners and adults.

Sangole highlighted inadequate financial and material resources as one of the challenges frustrating their efforts to promote reading culture in Malawi.

“Currently, we are operating in 13 districts only where we have 16 libraries only. This is not an ideal situation if we are to promote reading culture in Malawi,” she lamented.

She was, however, quick to mention that NLS is working with the government and various partners, including Book Aid International, USAID, DVV International and eKitabu, among others, to expand its horizon to the remaining 15 districts.

The Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Education responsible for Basic Education, Rachel Chimbwete Phiri, has admitted that more needs to be done to promote the reading culture in the country.

“We really admit that there is a lot to be done. But we hope that with more conversation with libraries and partners, we can bang our heads and come together and see how best we can resolve this issue. Otherwise it is a challenge, not just to the ministry, but the libraries also,” she said.