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State builds 447 libraries

BUTTYSON KANDIMBA, Solwezi
GOVERNMENT has built 447 libraries in schools countrywide in a bid to provide access to information and improve reading skills among learners.
Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education John Phiri said Government, through its cooperating partner called “Room to Read”, undertook the project to construct libraries in order to improve literacy levels among citizens.
Dr Phiri urged other stakeholders to work with Government to provide libraries as an essential tool for teaching and learning processes in schools countrywide.
“Government is aware of the fact that library facilities in Zambia need to be expanded at both institutional and public levels and is making efforts to make books available in all schools so that children can read even without a physical library.
“I am pleased to report that almost all Primary Schools have received a certain amount of book collections and a number of schools now have a library service of some kind and through our cooperating partners Room to Read, we have constructed 447 libraries in different Primary Schools,” Dr Phiri said.
The minister said this in a speech read for him by North-Western Province permanent secretary Amos Malupenga during the launch of the National Library Week in Solwezi on Wednesday.
The theme for this year’s national library week is: “Celebrating 50 years of providing library and information services in the quest of steering social, political and economic development.”
Dr Phiri said Government is concerned that library and information services are not well coordinated and do not deliver to the expectation of society due to inadequate infrastracture, human resource and inadequate reading materials.
The minister also called on well-wishers, cooperating partners and other organisations to find ways of supporting Government through the construction of libraries and supplying reading materials.
Dr Phiri said Government will support efforts aimed at transforming library and information services because this will help to upscale literacy levels among citizens.
And Library and Information Association of Zambia president Velenasi Munsanje appealed to Government to urgently enact the National Library Bill to help guide operations of libraries countrywide.

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