IMPACT OF THE ASSOCIATION
Since it was founded UgCLA has had considerable impact:
- More than 100 libraries have joined it, and more than 40 have sustained their membership. These libraries represent all the major regions of Uganda so that the idea of supplementing schooling with less formal education at the community level is spreading throughout the country.
- More than 20 libraries have been founded as a result of the founders’ hearing about UgCLA. The Association cannot give them direct financial support, but it does provide advice and inspiration through the example of its established members.
- At least 40 libraries have been transformed through their association with UgCLA, whether through receiving grants or through the influence of UgCLA-recruited volunteers, or both.
- Even those libraries that have not yet received grants or volunteers have had their capacity increased through the training that UgCLA provides in its conferences and workshops. In particular, community librarians have become better at programme planning, proposal writing, record-keeping, and financial accounting, as has been evidenced by their active participation in conference discussions, the information they provide on UgCLA library profile forms, the quality of the proposals they produce, and the accounting that they provide for moneys received. The local prestige of libraries has also been enhanced through visits from members of UgCLA’s Board, who are always received with great enthusiasm.
- Educational provision in the communities served by libraries is improved both economically and effectively. Libraries are efficient because they serve a number of different schools at different educational levels. They also provide education to those who are not in school, such as young children, school dropouts, and adults who have never had the opportunity of schooling. In particular, libraries enable people to teach themselves. No quantitative study has yet been done to demonstrate the academic benefits of community libraries, but anecdotes such as the following illustrate the point.
- A boy who had been borrowing novels regularly from the Kitengesa Community Library came top in the A level exams of 2007 in Kampala. He claimed it was his score in General Paper that made him better than other candidates, and it was the novels that he had been reading that gave him the necessary language skills and general knowledge.
- The librarian at the Kitengesa library completed A level exams as an independent candidate anda Bachelor’s degree through distance learning by working with the books and computer facilities that the library made available. He has now completeda Master’s degree in Development Studies.
- At Bushikori Community Library the girl who received a library prize for reading the most books in 2010 then came top in the PLE exams in 2011.
- Also at Bushikori the neighbouring primary school, with which the library works, never before 2011 had more than two or three childen achieving distinctions in the Primary Leaving Exam in English. That year, however, which was the year following the library’s participation in the Children’s Book Project and its consequent setting up of activities to encourage children to read by themselves, 24 children achieved distinctions in the exam, while in 2012 26 children did.
- At the Christian Community Foundation in Bududa two girls who had performed best in the essay-writing activities that the library had based on the Children’s Book Project books, got a grade of D[istinction] 2 in English in the Primary Leaving Exam of 2011. It should be noted that Bududa District schools generally have poor primary leaving results.
- P7 students at the Good Samaritan School for the Deaf all passed the Primary Leaving Exam at Level D 2 in 2016 after coming to the library on a regular basis throughout the year.
- Across the country, the number of people who read of their own volition has undoubtedly increased. It has not yet been possible to do a survey of all UgCLA member libraries, but the 15 that UgCLA board members visited in 2012 reported an average of more than 330 people coming into the library every month. If these 15 libraries are representative of them all, the total number of visits to community libraries per month must be well over 30,000.
- The existence of a community library may encourage other forms of social and economic development. The Kitengesa Community Library, for instance, has attracted both a forestry and a tailoring project which between them employ well over 200 local people. The Gayaza Family Learning Resource Centre has successfully introduced new farming methods, which enabled its clients to produce a maize harvest in the exceptionally dry season of 2013. The Caezaria, Nambi Sseppuuya, and Zigoti libraries are now in a position to provide water to their communities and hence to develop irrigation projects.
UgCLA provides unrivalled opportunities for academic research, especially on the nature and growth of African literacy and on the relationship between literacy and social and economic development. The Kitengesa Community Library, in particular, has served as a research centre from its inception. The following is a select list of studies that have come out of this research:
Dent, V. 2007. Local Economic Development in Uganda and the Connection to Rural Community Libraries and Literacy. New Library World 108 (5/6): 203-217 http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0307-4803
Dent, V. 2006. Modelling the Rural Community Library: Characteristics of the Kitengesa Library in Uganda, New Library World, 107 (1/2): 16-30http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0307-4803
Dent, V. 2006. Observations of School Library Impact at Two Rural Ugandan Schools, New Library World, 107 (9/10), 403-421http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=0307-4803
Dent, V. and Yannotta, L. 2005. A Rural Community Library in Uganda: A Study of its Use and Users. Libri, 55, 1:39-55http://www.librijournal.org/issues.html
Jones, S. 2011. Girls’ secondary education in Uganda: Assessing policy within the women’s empowerment framework. Gender and Education 23(4): 385-413.
Kendrick, M., and S. Jones. 2008. Girls’ visual representations of literacy in a rural Ugandan community. Canadian Journal of Education 31(2): 371-404.
Norton, B., S. Jones, and D. Ahimbisibwe. 2011. Learning about HIV/AIDS in Uganda: Digital resources and language learner identities. The Canadian Modern Language Review 67(4): 569-90.
Parry, K. 2013.Borrowing patterns at the Kitengesa Community Library. Guest contribution in Valeda F. Dent, Geoff Goodman, and Michael Kevane, Rural Community Libraries in Africa: Challenges and Impacts. IGI Global.
Parry, K. 2011. Libraries in Uganda: Not just linguistic imperialism.Libri61: 328-37. http://www.degruyter.com/dg/viewarticle/j$002flibri.2011.61.issue-4$002flibr.2011.027$002flibr.2011.027.xml;jsessionid=AFB32B2DEFE8E285E5524E3D2A2565EF
Parry, K. 2009. The story of a library in Uganda: Research and development in an African village. Teachers College Record 111(9): 2127-47.
Parry, K. 2008. It takes a village — and a library: Developing a reading culture in Uganda.Edutopia Magazine Online. http://www.edutopia.org/global-education-uganda-community-library
Parry, K. 2007. A library for learning: experiences of students in Uganda. Presented at ELITS Conference Shepstone, South Africa, August 9, 2007. http://www.kzneducation.gov.za/Portals/0/ELITS%20website%20Homepage/Conferences/ELITSkeynote0707.pdf
Parry, K. 2004. Opportunities for girls: A community library project in Uganda. In B. Norton and A. Pavlenko (eds.) Gender and English language learners. Alexandria, VA: TESOL.
Parry, K. 2002. Literacy for development? A community library project in Uganda. Language Matters 33(1): 142-68.
Parry, K., E. Kirabo, and G. Nakyato. 2014. Working with parents to promote children’s literacy: a family literacy project in Uganda.Multilingual Education, 4:13 http://www.multilingual-education.com/content/4/1/13
Stranger-Johannessen, E. 2009. Student Learning through a Rural Community Library: A case study from Uganda. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Oslo http://eprints.rclis.org/bitstream/10760/13127/1/Espen%27s_thesis_finished_1.pdf
Stranger-Johannessen, E. & Norton, B. 2017. The African Storybook and language teacher identity in digital times.Modern Language Journal, 101:S1