Thursday, 22 November 2007

ZLS pilots training programmes for schools

With the support of the British High Commission in Tanzania, ZLS staff have been developing two training programmes aimed at strengthening school library provision in Zanzibar.

One two-day workshop on basic library management and reading promotion skills for teachers from schools in Central District with existing libraries was piloted with 10 teachers from 5 schools in the Central Distict in November 2007. Topics covered included:

  • About libraries, literacy and learning;
  • Skills for managing libraries;
  • Using school to support reading;
  • Techniques for promoting reading and library skills

A separate two-day workshop on planning a new school library for 5 head teachers and 5 teacher librarians from 5 schools in Central District without existing libraries was piloted at the same time.

Topics covered included:

  • About libraries, literacy and learning;
  • Skills for managing libraries;
  • Planning a new school library
  • Preparing a basic project proposal

Both workshops were very successful and ZLS is planning to run these workshops in other districts on Zanzibar Island in 2008.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

New collections for Teacher Centre Libraries

In October 2007, ZLS staff visited TC libraries across Zanzibar to deliver new books for each TC library intended to help teachers mainstream HIV / AIDS education in the classroom – the purchase and distribution of these HIV / AIDS materials has been made possible through the Support of Zanzibar AIDS Commission.

These materials will be used by TC library staff to run HIV awareness activities for teachers and students for World AIDS Day 2007 on 1 December 2007.

During these visits, ZLS also delivered ZLS Library Resource Packs - collections of useful print and digital resources about basic library management and reading promotion - to TC libraries.

By compiling and delivering these ZLS Library Resource Packs to all Teacher Centre libraries in Unguja and Pemba, it is intended that:

  • TC staff will use these resource packs to develop library services to support teaching and learning within all TC libraries;
  • All schools in Zanzibar will be able to access appropriate resources about library development and reading promotion easily within their Teacher’s Centre libraries;
  • These resource packs will be generally available to support future training provided by ZLS for teacher-librarians across the archipelago.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Chake Chake Library promotes reading to children

The ZLS Library in Chake Chake on Pemba Island has been running a weekly programme to promote literacy and libraries to primary school children for over three years. Children come to the library every Friday afternoon to read together, to play games, to draw, sing and act.

The library staff is working hard to get more children involved in the library by building relationships with schools close to the library. However, there is a desperate shortage of Swahili story books for young children in the library so finding funds to buy more locally published books to use for this programme is an ongoing concern at this library.

Saturday, 29 September 2007

President of Zanzibar inspects construction of new central library

On Friday 28th September 2007, the President of Zanzibar Hon. Amani Abeid Karume visited the new Central Library building at Maisara, Zanzibar Town. The President toured the building and saw the progress of the construction. The site engineer Mr. Ramadhan Mussa Bakar informed the President that 95% of the construction work has already completed.

Later the President addressed members of the Zanzibar Library Board and the construction team. In his speech, he told the audiance that he is satisfied with the progress and encouraged the people of Zanzibar, particularly children, to make use of this modern library when it opens. He added that the library is more spacious with specialized services for adult and children including internet services which could be available free of charge. He commented that the new library, surrounded by beautiful gardens, will provide a conducive environment for reading, study amd relaxation.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Please complete ZLS survey of funding sources for library development in Zanzibar!

The current level of library provision to communities in Zanzibar is depressingly low:
  • There are only two public libraries, poorly resourced but well used, in the entire archipelago.
  • Nearly 60% of schools on Unguja currently have no form of school library at all.
  • The 10 Teacher Centre (TC) libraries on Unguja and Pemba are generally unable to function as 'district libraries' serving local communities, due to inadequate training of staff, insufficient and ill-equipped library spaces and inappropriate library stock.
In response to this situation, Zanzibar Library Services (ZLS) is compiling a directory of possible funding sources for schools, Teacher Centres and other organisations in Zanzibar interested in applying for funding to support the establishment and improvement of libraries.

This directory will be distributed during ZLS training workshops for school and TC staff, aimed at assisting schools and Teacher Centres to develop and maintain libraries within their institutions.

If your organisation is interested in promoting literacy and improving lifelong education on Zanzibar, please help us by competing this survey online today!


Friday, 7 September 2007

Swahili guides on reading promotion and library management from CBP

Children's Book Project in Tanzania (CBP) has kindly donated over 400 guides to reading promotion and basic library management to ZLS. This collection of guides, developed by CBP and written in Swahili to support the development and promotion of school libraries, includes the following titles:

  • Maktaba na zana za kufundishia usomaji (Libraries and teaching aids to teach reading)
  • Misingi ya kusoma (Foundations of reading)
  • Mwongozo wa usomaji katika shule za msingi (Guide to reading in primary schools)
  • Pamoja na utumizi wa hadithi kufundishia kugha (Using stories to teach language)
  • Usomaji wa kuongozwa (Guide to reading)
  • Usomaji na uandikaji wa pamoja (Reading and writing together)

ZLS will be distributing copies of these guides to the 10 Teacher Centre libraries on Unguja and Pemba in October 2007, and using them to support future ZLS training initiatives for schools.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Book Box Libraries in action!

ZLS visited those schools with new book box libraries last week to see how they were getting on with using these libraries with their students and teachers. All 5 schools have made great progress - all the books have been processed properly to make it easier for students to find and borrow the books they need, many have been running regular storytelling sessions, teachers have been borrowing the book box to use for class reading lessons, and at Chumbuni Primary School, the teacher-librarians have promoted the book box library so well that their book box is nearly empty as most of the books are out on loan.

The students are loving having Swahili story books to read and all the teacher-librarians are already asking for more books for their book box libraries...

Friday, 1 June 2007

New book box libraries for 5 primary schools!

As part of our World Book Day 2007 celebrations (funded by the British High Commission in Tanzania), ZLS invited primary school within the Urban and West Districts on Unguja that don't have libraries to apply to receive one of five new book box libraries.

As most schools do not have any spare rooms to house a permanent library, book box libraries can be a good solution as they are lockable and compact, so that it is easy to store and move them around. Each book box opens up to reveal two shelves filled with 225 primarily locally produced Swahili and English stories and information books for new and developing readers.

The book box libraries also come with two large mats to provide students with somewhere comfortable to sit and read during library and storytelling sessions held outdoors.

Ten teachers from the five winning schools participated in a 3-day training programme in basic library skills and reading promotion techniques in May 2007 to help to prepare them to manage and promote their new book box libraries to their school communities. Once training had been completed, ZLS staff delivered a book box library to each school on 1 June 2007.

We look forward to visiting these primary schools in a few months' time to find out how these new libraries are being used by their students and teachers. If feedback is positive, ZLS is very keen to put more book box libraries in primary schools in other areas in Zanzibar.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Promoting libraries to headteachers

As there is only one primary school on Zanzibar Island with a functional library, ZLS is working hard to improve access to books and libraries for primary school students across the island.

As part of ZLS World Book Day 2007 celebrations, we invited headteachers from primary schools in the Urban and West districts to attend an advocacy workshop on 28 April 2007, to discuss the role of libraries in literacy and learning. In addition to hosting lively discussions on the challenges of promoting a reading culture on Zanzibar, ZLS staff took this opportunity to outline the various ways in which ZLS can work with primary schools to ensure that children are able to access books and libraries:

  • By running weekly storytelling and reading promotion activities for primary school students in the Urban District
  • By identifying and working with external partners to secure resources to improve library provision to students on Zanzibar
  • By conducting research to inform future development of libraries to support teaching and learning
  • By distributing books and other teaching materials donated by international library donor agencies such as Book Aid International and Books for Africa to schools with functional school libraries
  • By hosting special information sessions for students in conjunction with special events such as World AIDS Day and World Book Day
  • By offering training in basic school library management and reading promotion training to teachers
  • By ensuring that the new Central Library, to be opened in late 2007, will have a large, well-resourced Children’s section
  • By organizing and running projects to improve access for students to Swahili and English books in primary schools without libraries.

Feedback from this event was very positive with a strong call for more opportunities to come together and share ideas and experiences of library development across the island. Many head teachers also requested that ZLS host more training events in reading promotion and basic library management for their teachers. We are very keen to offer this kind of training on a regular basis but it takes money to run effective workshops so this is another key area in which ZLS is looking for support...

Monday, 23 April 2007

Storytelling in the library

To celebrate World Book & Copyright Day 2007, ZLS invited students from 10 primary schools to visit ZLS Central Library to participate in storytelling sessions and promote our new collection of locally published Swahili storybooks. The storytelling sessions were run by those 6 ZLS staff members who all took part in workshops on reading promotion and storytelling techniques in March 2007. The response from students and teachers alike throughout the week was very encouraging!

Staff at ZLS Central Library will now be running weekly storytelling sessions for two different primary schools every Wednesday in our new and improved Children's section throughout the school year.

Friday, 20 April 2007

New Swahili books for ZLS Central Library

In a country where Swahili is the mother tongue, it is ironic that 98% of the books in our library collection are in English and are published in the UK or USA. That is why we are always looking for ways to expand our collections of locally produced, Swahili language materials, particularly for children. Research has shown that access to mother tongue materials for neo-literates contributes greatly to ensuring ongoing literacy but ZLS simply does not have the money to buy Swahili books.

To help ZLS to celebrate World Book Day 2007, the British High Commission in Tanzania has given us a small grant to, amongst other things, buy 250 new Swahili books for our Central Library. Now that may not seem like a lot to some, but in effect, we have doubled the amount of Swahili children's books available for loan in our library. The Tanzanian publishing industry is very small so finding good quality Swahili books to buy takes some effort but with the help of the committed staff at CODE-established Children's Book Project and growing local publishers such as Mkuki na Nyota we managed to come up trumps.