In case you missed it, we’ve highlighted some of our wonderful African teacher-librarians and partners to celebrate National Library Week. Here are some who you may not have heard about yet.

Gift Phimba

Gift is a librarian in the Dedza district of Malawi at Magaleta School. We asked him why he believed libraries were important. Here’s what he had to say:

“It makes students develop and improve their reading culture, helps both teachers and students in process of searching for information, creates a conducive environment for studying, and improves performance of students.”

Boke Paul

Boke is a teacher librarian at St.Cecilia Kegonche Primary in Kenya. His library of 800 books serves 500 students, 18 teachers, and members of the surrounding community.

At the personal level, he finds that working as a teacher-librarian is a position necessary for all of humanity. 

“I love serving people and it is my intention and hope to transform our school and community to be readers and generally book lovers.”

Japhet J. B. Chinchembere

Since 2010 Japhet has been the teacher-librarian at Nswasa Primary school, and says working in the library always makes him feel good. 

“ALP in our school is like a blessing to me, the entire school and the community,” says Japhet.

Mphatso Mbiriyakonda

“To work in a library is something very interesting and fruitful. We have 1058 books in our library, according to our accession register. Having a library is very important because it helps to keep learners occupied, facilitates the learning and teaching process, and promotes reading culture in young learners from lower classes.”

Mphatso is a teacher-librarian at Aimalandiwo Primary in Malawi.

Flemmings Chimawaka

Flemmings is a librarian at Embangweni community Day Secondary School. He was trained at Chancellor College to take on all the responsibilities of an ALP library. He finds that working with people demands patience and tolerance – the most effective people are dedicated to constant learning.

Patricia Mafika

Patricia lives in Lesotho, and is married with three children. In her spare time she reads or plays volleyball. But more than anything, she says she loves working in the library.

“I get inspired when children come in for reading & learning new things in the library.”

Patricia thinks literacy is essential for social and human development because it provides individuals with the skills to transform their lives. She also says literacy is a fundamental human right, and that economies are enhanced by a high literacy rate.

“ALP is doing a great job in my country & other African countries by promoting literacy.”

Emmanuel Mchinthah

Emmanuel earned his Bachelor of Library and Information Science from Muzuzu Universtiy. He is currently working at Little Steps Children’s Library, which he helped to establish in Malawi. This library filled a need for a space for children that did not exist in the community before, and allows children in Malawi to question and learn more about the world they live in. Furthermore, Emmanuel takes a holistic view of reading and its ability to transform lives.

“What has greatly motivated me is having seen children’s souls being healed through books. I have realized that children don’t need frequent motivational talks and intensive counselling to transform their mind. What they need is a book that can do more than that. They need a book that can heal their hearts. Bibliotherapy has transformed a lot of children’s lives in my community. Through the little library I have also learned that some children are like patients. They have reading problems that need to be diagnosed and in-depth intervention measures need to be taken to heal them from their reading defects. Hence we came up with the Reading Clinic which provides in-depth intervention measures to children that have reading defects such as dyslexia.”

Robert Chilungs

Robert, of Kalilombe Primary School in Malawi, says it is fantastic to work in a library. Why?

“Because you are exposed to various areas of education. It also feels great to assist learners and develop the reading culture among them. Now they are able to find information on their own.”

Robert also says ALP has shaped him into a better professional thanks to the training he has participated in.

Monica Letsoha

Monica has 18 years’ experience as a school librarian and has worked both in primary and university-level education systems. She earned her degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Botswana. While she was working at Crescent International School in Lobatse, she was invited to attend the ALP Summit, where she met ALP’s founder Chris Bradshaw. Having moved to Lesotho, Monica became an active member of ALP’s team there in 2018, and became the senior librarian at Botho University.  

Monica coordinates communications and cooperation between ALP, the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Peace Corps by managing donation application forms, marketing for ALP, and distributing books to their respective schools. She also facilitates teacher training workshops in Lesotho and evaluates the libraries that are created there. She says ALP has helped her to share skills and knowledge with teachers running libraries at the local level.

To Monica, libraries are important “because through reading the mind is kept busy. When the mind is busy creativity is seen.” 

Beyond that, she noted that libraries keep children safe from substance abuse, promote literacy and education, and provide the resources necessary to educate a society well enough to keep abreast with the rest of the world.

“Through information and knowledge a society becomes rich in ideas.”

Ankomah Antwi Boasiako

“I am a field worker with Michael Lapsley Foundation Ghana. As a field worker, my primary role to collect information, assess the progress of our beneficiary libraries and report back to authorities for necessary remedies. My role as a field worker, has afforded me the opportunity to engage and interact with my many school librarians about the impact of the library to their schools. The outcome has been overwhelming; for schools that lacked teaching and learning materials, the library books from ALP, had been their main source of learning materials. Teachers also used some of our books as source of reference in teaching their children. Children who hitherto were having difficulty in reading can now read because they have access to library books. My experience with ALP has been an awesome one.”

Gordon Oyier

Gordon Oyier is a teacher-librarian at Masara Primary in Kenya. His school has a total of 1343 books shared among 900 students, 21 teachers, and 237 community members. We asked him about his work in library services, and he had this to say:

“Library services is my greatest passion and hobby as I am very excited and greatly moved to see learners happily interact with their books, get time to gain knowledge and insight on factual issues as well as read their books for immense enjoyment and relaxation. It is indeed my mission to make our school and the entire community book lovers and greater reader. I believe with books our community is equipped with knowledge, informed, entertained and transformed into a society that is better to live in. It’s my dream to see a whole generation that loves books and reading; Certainly, I believe it’s achievable.”

Constance Thawale

“Hello, my name is Constance Thawale. I am an assistant teacher librarian at Luntha Day Secondary School in Zomba District, Malawi.Working in the library is really fun though quite a challenge. However, the beauty comes when I get to convince my students to come and read books for knowledge’s sake. And there’s been a growing number of students who have shown interest in reading books.

My experience with African Library Project has been quite amazing. I was glad that the books that our school received were not just classroom-based but books of stories being told of different cultures and personalities. The books are colourful and fun to read as such they catch the attention of the reader.

A library is essential in a school setting. The books also help learners to improve their English vocabulary considering it as a second language to Malawian students. The books also help learners to learn various aspects which are different from their culture.”

Cuthbert Gondwe

“I am Cuthbert Gondwe, a teacher-librarian at Kwakupokera CDSD in Northern Education Division in Malawi. As a library teacher, I am responsible for day to day running of the library and supervising library prefects who assist me in running the library. I also teach Biology and Chemistry.

I am interested in helping learners to access books and guiding them on how to care for books given to them. I help them to understand and appreciate that the library is there to promote a reading culture and eventually enrich their knowledge. I have learned a lot working with ALP, and I expect more from it especially in the provision of more modern books for learners.”

Elizabeth Oluoch

Elizabeth is a teacher-librarian from Sare Primary School in Kenya. Before receiving books from ALP, Sare Primary had only 100 books in their library. Now their library is shared among over 1000 students, 30 teachers, and 100 community members. “I do library services in our school with passion because I love to help our students, the community and teachers to love read books since it’s the backbone of knowledge.”