Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Library growing

It's been more than seven months now since the opening of the Pobe-Mengao library. In these past few months, the library has continued to grow and grow.

There are now nearly 750 books in stock.

Hamidou, the librarian, says that the months of August and September were fairly slow, as teachers and students were on vacation and villagers were out cultivating in the fields. With the start of the new school year, however, October has been a whole different story.

This year the secondary school is transitioning into a lycee. A new primary school just opened as well as a new private secondary school. New schools mean more students, which has led to an increased attendance and participation in the library. Since October Hamidou says the library has been getting 100+ visitors a day!

African literature continues to be the most popular reading; authors Fatou Keita,
Amadou Hampate Ba and Camara Laye being the favorites. Chinua Achebe's Le monde s'effondre(Things Fall Apart) is another book frequently checked out.

As for the children, comic books, especially the Aya de Yopougon series, are still the most popular. The library has Aya 1 through 5 and none of the books are ever in the library for long. The minute one Aya is returned, it is immediately checked out again.

Hamidou also says some of the most checked out items include informational books regarding sex, sexuality, women's empowerment and HIV/AIDS, which is obviously a great thing to hear. A lot of these topics are still sensitive, taboo and difficult to talk about, but that doesnt mean people dont have questions. At least the library is a place where they can easily and comfortably find answers.

The goal for the Pobe library is to become a community gathering place and it is well on its way. In addition to reading, numerous villagers, children and functionaires come to the library to do puzzles and play local games including lido, ware and cards.

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