The National Library of Uganda proudly joins Book Aid International, its oldest partner in book trade, to celebrate its 60th birthday. BAI, as it is fondly known by millions of readers in Sub-Saharan Africa, started in 1954. It has walked this long but very enjoyable journey with Ugandan public libraries since the 1990s.
A quarter of a century later and hundreds of thousands of books having been in and continuing to be held in the hands of ordinary Ugandans, this collaboration has expanded from book provision, to library staff training, reading promotion, supporting local book industry through local book purchases as well as making public libraries more attractive to users.
Over the years, the National Library of Uganda has organized many book related programmes that have included reading camps, teacher training in reading promotion, starting small libraries in primary schools as well as supporting public libraries through donating books to them. All these programmes have mainly used books donated by BAI. Many school children and secondary school students as well as adults doing evening classes and generally reading for pleasure, have continued to access books that supplement their school text books and also further fulfill their lives. The BAI ‘touch’ has been felt in all corners of Uganda. As Christine, one happy library user in Buikwe, some 30 kilometers west of Kampala said of her local library. ‘I used to read all kinds of books in the library and I was amazed at how new and good the books were, especially those that had the stamp, ‘Donated by Book Aid International – Not for sale” They helped me improve on my vocabulary and I passed my O-level exams with a first grade.’