As the population of Kitwe steadily climbs closer to a million people, some public departments are striving to maintain and improve on their services against all odds. Kitwe Public Library has continued to provide library facilities to all Kitwe residents. How is it coping? We spoke to the man in charge to find out.
The Library is currently run by Mr Simon Nkhoma and his team. What follows is a transcript of the interview:
– What is your official title?
– How long have you been in this job?
– Tell us about yourself
I love my job and want to expose young children and adults to good literature.
I hold a Diploma in Library Studies and I am currently pursuing a degree in Library and Information Science at UNZA (University of Zambia).
– What is the best thing you like about your job?
It is the chance to help people become enlightened through knowledge.
– Tell us about the Library
Kitwe Public Library is run by Kitwe City Council under local governance. It is one of 17 facilities sharing resources for different social services. We have 8 staff who help to keep the library going and to keep it clean.
The library is based at Kaunda Square in the center of town. The building was not purpose built for library functions but we have had to adapt and make the best use of it. The current seating capacity is 85. People have to wait for seats because there is a high demand for the service and we are not able to accommodate everybody.
We have a branch library situated in Buchi township. It has a seating capacity of 50. Like the main library, Buchi Library has no internet capability at the moment. It is also lacks the capacity to accommodate potential users.
– Do you work with any other organizations?
Yes. At different times we have worked with organisations like the Lions Club, Rotary Club, and more recently the World Bank. The World Bank helped us do some repairs and extensions to the building. They also gave us four computers and enabled us to get some more books.
We also work with other private libraries like Zambia Institute of Business Studies and Industrial Practice (ZIBSIP) library, Zambia Forestry College (Mwekera) and Zambia Open University. We operate an inter-library loaning system between us.
Kitwe Public Library is a member of the Zambia Library Association. The body meets once or twice a year.
This year we will hold an Open Library Week from 14th – 18th November (2011). The event will be held at Kitwe Public Library. It's aim is to showcase the library services on offer.
– How many books do you stock in the library?
We have about 12,000. Most of them are obsolete.
– Where do you get your books from?
We have different sources. We order some, and also get donations from different bodies and individuals.
– What are the popular categories?
Being a general library, we try to cater for a wide range of interests. We get a lot of students coming in to study, but we have a limited range of academic materials.
We also have a childrens' section.
– Do you stock other materials like Magazines, CD s, DVDs, Audio Books
We don't yet have a facility to provide other materials in the library.
– Do you offer any other services?
– Are there membership fees to Pay?
It is a public library, open to the public.
The Town Clerk
Kitwe City Council,
P.O. Box 2007.
Monday to Friday: 9.00 – 18.00 hrs
Saturday 09.00 – 13.00 hrs
-What are some of the successes or achievements of the library?
Kitwe Public Library is helping to increase the level of enlightenment of the community.
There are a lot of community services computing for a share of a limited cake, in terms of resources. Our most urgent priorities are:
Limitation of seating capacity. We would like to expand the library facilities so that we can accommodate more potential users.
We have a severe shortage of books in different categories, including academic, childrens', magazines etc. We would like to stock a bigger selection for our readers.
There is an urgent need to get our four computers connected to the internet.
Outreach programme. We would like to reach out into the community and educate them about our services. This would mean school and community visits. Lack of adequate transport makes this difficult at the moment.
These are our most urgent needs.
The library is willing to work with individuals and organisations that share our concern for providing adequate library facilities. They can contact the library via the Town Clerk's office (see address above).
If you would like to help improve Kitwe Public Library, you can contact the Library at the above address or through KitweOnline.
You can also leave your comments below.