Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements

The Story of a Library: Research and Development in an African Village


by Kate Parry — 2009

Background: Although education in Africa is expanding, little is being done to support learners’ literacy outside the school. Rural people have little access to books and so cannot develop their reading skills.

Purpose of Study: The project described here has both an educational and a research purpose: to complement formal schooling by making reading material available to students and others, and to document the development of new literacy practices by investigating and recording readers’ preferences.

Setting: The site is near the trading center of Kitengesa in Masaka District in Uganda. It is a rural area where most people depend on subsistence farming and the sale of food and cash crops. Many have been to school, however, and basic literacy is widespread.

Intervention: The project has consisted of the establishment and development of a community library, in cooperation with a local private secondary school. It is supported by funds that the author and other supporters raise in the United States and Canada.

Research Design: The research is a case study that follows an action research model. The intervention was initially based on observational research together with consultation with representatives of the community; it was carefully documented from the outset and the findings used to inform the project’s further development.

Data Collection and Analysis: The data consist primarily of the library’s records of members joining, books borrowed, and users’ declared purposes in coming to the building. The written records are supplemented by observations of behavior in the library and interviews with users.

Results: Local responses indicate that there is considerable potential for developing a reading culture in the area. Story books have proved to be most popular, but school textbooks and newspapers are also much in demand. The project has attracted interest from foreign visitors, who have used the library as a base for initiating other development projects.

Conclusions: The Kitengesa experience demonstrates that a community library is a cost-effective way of supporting literacy development and enabling research on literacy practices. It also provides a base for other grassroots development projects. The suggested way forward is to build on this experience by encouraging the growth of similar libraries throughout Uganda.



To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase The Story of a Library: Research and Development in an African Village
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
$25
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$210


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 111 Number 9, 2009, p. 2127-2147
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15385, Date Accessed: 12/13/2017 12:05:28 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools

Related Media


Related Articles

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • Kate Parry
    Hunter College of the City University of New York
    E-mail Author
    KATE PARRY is a professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York. She spends summers and intersessions in Uganda, where she conducts research on literacy practices and administers community library projects. Her recent publications include Teaching Reading in African Schools (2005), and “People and Language” in Language and Linguistics in Context: Readings and Applications for Teachers (Ed. Harriet Luria, Deborah M. Seymour, and Trudy Smoke, 2005).
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS