The Australian Embassy has donated $9,000 worth of children’s books to Harare City Library and its satellite branches.
The donation of 800 books, which includes fiction and non fictional text written by local authors, comes as a welcome relief to Harare’s libraries which are seriously lacking reading material.
Speaking at the handover of children’s books at Mabelreign Library last week, Australian Ambassador Matthew Neuhaus said, “I’m delighted that we have been able to be part of the rehabilitation of the broader Harare City Library activity and this has been a specific support we could provide.”
The books, which are mainly for primary school children, will be equally distributed among Harare’s six libraries including the main library in Rotten Row plus its satellite stations in Highlands, Hatfield, Greendale, Mount Pleasant and Mabelreign.
Acknowledging the vast growth of information technologies Neuhaus said, “It is time the library in Mabelreign grows to have the internet access as it is more important in the modern world. I appeal to the parents and teachers to help their own children through helping to fund the ICT resources needed,” he added.
Also at the event, Harare West Member of Parliament, Hon Jessie Majome spoke about her days as a youngster at Mabelreign branch library, and how, as MP for the area she encouraged its resuscitation. She also praised volunteers who have managed to keep the library functional to date.
The donation is a meaningful contribution which will help to keep the libraries afloat in an era where digital technology is taking over, however a lot still needs to be done. Library committee member Katrina Wallace Karenga said, “This donation is very important. It takes us closer to being a better library, a library with enough books for everyone who wants to benefit from the joy of reading.”
The event was attended by Grade 3 pupils from nearby school Alfred Beit Primary. Majome impressed upon them the importance of books, even in the face of alternative technologies. “As you grow older, never forget to read books. This teaches you discipline, patience and self-control,” said Majome.
As part of the event, Hon. Majome planted an avocado tree outside the library in a tree planting ceremony.
The donation is part of the Australian Direct Aid Program. It assists with the provision of education material, health, agriculture and food security, institutional strengthening and promoting economic growth.
Caption: Hon Jessie Majome talking at the library, while Australian Ambassador Matthew Neuhaus and District Officer for Mabelreign Ms Mverechena look on. Photo: Harare City Library.