Busolwe library: Butaleja’s hive of activity

I thought I might begin this week’s book-focused blog by giving you all the opportunity to take this brilliant little BBC quiz; the idea being that most Britons will only have read 6 out of these 100 famous books. Now, whether it is was forced upon you in school, or you’re simply a committed bibliophile, most of us will have picked a number of these up at one point or another.

Needless to point out that the same cannot be said for many in the Busolwe community. With literacy rates falling short of their 90% target last year (currently only 73% of adults are literate), Busolwe library is as vital and relevant as ever to its local community.

With an average 500 visitors a month, our library is a veritable hive of activity with both children and adults visiting for training, research, school work or to simply get stuck-in to a good book. With our IT courses, women’s groups, story time and outdoor games taking place regularly, it is an ideal environment to come and get involved socially. Or, if you prefer, there is also space to get comfortable reading quietly.

The statistics surrounding the library have been hugely positive with over 372 books being borrowed a month and an average 246 people coming to read the newspaper. We also host around 7 meetings per month as local groups (such as the health club, IT club and Women’s Group) are also able to make use of the space and facilities. We are incredibly excited to see the ongoing enthusiasm with which the library has been met in the local community and it is particularly encouraging to note that over half our visitors are female (and around 40% of them are children)!

While there are many positives to take from this exciting project, like any library around the world, it faces its fair share of challenges. In the past few months we have had trouble with vandalism (ripping out pages of newspapers etc.) and while our membership system does allow us to keep track of who’s coming in and out, we think we may now need to increase supervision of the reading area. Due to the huge popularity of the library, we are also finding ourselves increasingly pressed for space. Hosting various groups, meetings and reading visitors all at once can prove a bit of a squeeze.

With these encouraging developments, and these very real challenges, in mind, would you perhaps consider giving towards this vital project? We are so excited by the library’s impact on the community and the way in which it has become a dynamic tool in the work on literacy (especially in women and children). We thank all of you who help facilitate this project and look forward to keeping you updated with its happenings in the months to come.