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Reading Culture Growing Yet?

Swimwalking through the mangroves

Hello from Tanga, Tanzania my home with my husband and my inlaws and my six dogs!

Hello fellow Tanzanians! I have been missing from the library development world for some time as I’ve been dedicated to being a housewife since marrying. I am now looking forward to becoming more involved once again.

Habari za siku nyingi Watanzania wenzetu! Mimi zimepotea toka kazi ya maendeleo za maktaba kwa muda mrefu sasa kwa sababu nimekuwa kujitolea na kufanya kazi kama mama ya nyumbani baada nilioa. Sasa, nimefurahi kuanza tena kazi ya maendeleo za maktaba.

As I begin to explore the direction to take with you all here in Tanzania I would love to start afresh the discussion of Reading Culture and if any of my colleagues or other residents of Tanzania have seen a change in how their neighbors, family members, friends, schoolmates, etc take to books. Does anyone have a personal story of their journey from looking at books as school work to looking at books as a source of entertainment and sources for the personal pursuit of knowledge?

Sasa, samahani lakini Kiswahili yangu sio nzuri sana, lakini nataka kujaribu kutafsiri kidogo. Tafadhali, kama umeona kosa za maneno au herufi, kuwaambia mimi na mimi nita mabadiliko hayo.

Kama nianza to kuangalia mwelekeo kuenda na hiyo kazi pamoja na Watanzania wangu, nataka kuanza mazungumzo kuhusu “kusoma utamaduni” na kama umeona mabadaliko ya vipi majirani na familia na rafiki na wanashule wanapenda vitabu na kusoma. Kama una habari kuhusu jinsi vitabu iliyopita wewe, tafadhali tueleze.

Another point of discussion that should be addressed is how a community library is seen by those who are founding the libraries, those who attend the libraries and those who hear about neighboring villages being provided with community libraries. A few questions I have are as follows;

1-      Why do founders of community libraries sacrifice so much to start a community library? Is there an attraction to get involved in projects that they are sure will attract NGOs? What sort of income/profit do founders hope to receive from their library?  Or is the sacrifice purely for the sake of their community, with no expectations of personal gain (after living in Tanzania for close to 10 years and learning the culture of Tanzania so deeply I find it very hard to believe that this is the case with ALL community libraries).

Kwanini watu watakuwa sadaka kuanzisha maktaba ya jamii? Kwa sababu unataka kufanya kazi pamoja na NGO ya ulaya? Unataka kupata mapato na faida kutoka maktaba yako? Au sio lazima kupata faida au kufanya kazi na NGO ya ulaya lakini ni kwa sababu una upendo kwa jamii yako na unataka watu wote kupata nafasi kwa elimu bora zaidi?

2-      My question for people who have had nothing to do with founding a library but have been attendees of the library, what were your expectations before visiting the community library? Were your expectations met, fallen short or exceeded? As a library user, what is your biggest complaint about a community library? What is your biggest praise of a community library?

Swali yangu kwa watu ambao wanaenda maktaba kusoma ni; ulifikiria nini kabla kuenda maktaba ya jamii? Wewe ulikuwa na furaha na huduma katika maktaba? Umependa nini zaidi ya huduma katika maktaba? Hupendi nini zaidi ya huduma katika maktaba?

3- For those who do not have a community library, but have heard of their neighboring villages or towns having the use of such a space, what have you to say about seeing how your neighbors responded to receiving a community library? What sort of changes have you seen in their habits, priorities, and livelihood? Did you feel any sort of resentment towards your neighbors when they received a community library, but you did not?

Swali yangu kwa watu ambao hawana maktaba, lakini umeona kijiji majirani wameshapata maktaba ya jamii ni; Umeona mabadiliko nini katika majirani wako baaada wameanza kusoma na maktaba kwake? Unajisikia yoyote chuki kwa majirani wako baada wamepata maktaba na kijiji kwako hakuwa maktaba?

I feel like there is much to discuss regarding the reading culture as it collides with the Tanzanian cultures! I say cultures because it largely depends where you are in Tanzania geographically. Coastal town culture and coastal city cultures is very different. Coastal city culture and inland city culture is different. Usambaraa Mountains culture and Zanzibar culture is very different. And so it goes, for every different geographical influence of every village, town, and city. And the culture of the area where a community library is established will not only influence how quickly a reading culture is adopted and grown, but that community’s culture will also influence how the community library grows, progresses, changes, is used. Each will change the other.

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