Home » Chamazi Library

Chamazi Library


Find more photos like this on African Village Libraries

The Chamazi Community Library is located in a semi-urban area located 25km south of Dar es Salaam and began through a collective effort between UVIKIUTA (Tanzanian NGO), Sarah Switzer, Africa Community Technical Service (ACTS), and Trinity Western University.  UVIKIUTA manages this project and receives volunteers regularly through their various partnerships with various groups outside of Tanzania, and these volunteers are volunteering time, resources and funds for the library project.

The library construction began in June 2008.  It currently stands fully  in use with a modest collection of books, but slowly growing.  As the collection grows more shelves will always be needed, as well as more tables and chairs.

A collection of books began in June 2008 when TWU students collected and brought a selection of books.  These books are mostly uniquely accessible in North America, and not as easily found in Tanzania.  The book collection was temporarily being stored in a spare room donated by UVIKIUTA, but was moved into the library August 2009.  In 2011 there were books added to the collection through more in-kind donations from Canada, but as well as purchasing books published in East Africa.  Books purchased from local publishers are often more culturally relevant and are printed in the national language of Tanzania, Swahili.

This library will have an income generating internet cafe as part of its services with hopes that it will help create a self-sustainable library that does not depend on international aid for maintenance.  Internet cafes are the most common access to the web in Tanzania and can be found very easily in major cities.  The Chamazi community does not have any internet cafes near by.  The community is very excited to soon have access to an internet cafe without having to travel the 25 kms to the city centre to find one.

In July 2009 Sarah hosted Kathy Yeo, a librarian  from Vancouver, as well as Mona who is a children’s library technician from Vancouver.  They volunteered at the Chamazi and Kwekitui libraries during their two week visit, repairing and cataloging books as well as mentoring our two wonderful librarians.

To donate:

Please visit the ACTS Canada Helps page and clearly mark your donation “Chamazi Library”



  1. jagdeep says:

    GOOD JOB… hope these libraries last forever and you will be the icon behind it 😉

  2. A.K. Hassan says:

    Dear Sarah,
    I am the new Tanzania Library Association (TLA) chairperson.
    I have been very much impresed with the efforts you, Africa Community Technical Service (ACTS), and Trinity Western University have put in establishment of the community libraries in Tanzania. We comend this efforts and hope you will extend the services to other parts of Tanzania. TLA will always give you with support whenever necessary.


    • sarahswitzer says:

      It is so nice to hear this from you and TLA and a pleasure to “meet” you via this message. Hopefully we will connect sometime this year? Will you or anyone else from TLA be attending the Pan African Reading for All Conference? I imagine TLA is helping in some of the planning for this conference?

    • Jean Milburn says:


      I am writing in the hope that you and your librarian can provide some guidance and advice to the Karatu Education Fund.(you can see our website on the internet) We are a group of volunteers who are building and filling a library at the Ganako Secondary School in Karatu, not far from Arusha. Quite simply, I am looking for a book list of the 1,000 most important books to provide to students in this school. If you see the “Bricks for Life” website, you will see that we have completed building the library. In addition, we have ordered copies of the mandatory government-printed books for all the kids. Now we want to enrich their education by providing other books not normally available to children in the public education of Tanzania. While we get lots of advice from librarians here, I would love to have advice from education professionals with experience in operating a fully supplied school in Tanzania. I will deeply appreciate any guidance that you may offer. Jean Milburn 39 York Road, Wayland MA. jean@band-organ.com

  3. Ombeni WIlliam Msuya says:

    Really you are ding a very great Job. It is a spirit that many people especially we african we need to learn from you and support. From the discussion we made last week in Daladala in Dar es Salaam from Mbagala to Posta it has remainded me alot and developed new challenge that now we are organizing our people at Msangaeni village in Mwanga district to start construction of new community library.

    We met at Mbagala and dada Julieth asked me to assist to posta the day yo told me you were to meet your fried in Haidery plaza and going to TAnga.
    Best regards.
    Ombeni WIlliam Msuya

  4. mj crouch says:

    Sarah! I am hunting you down! We are heading to Tanzania for Christmas and thought that we would try to get to your community and visit your library. We have been following your wonderful journey in this community and it would be so sad to be so close and miss you. Are you going to be there around Christmas? I’m just going to email your folks right now and see- Wouldn’t this be amazing to connect in Tanzania?! When did we see you last??? too long ago. Blessings, Mary Jean Crouch

    • sarahswitzer says:

      Oh my GOODNESS! This is absolutely fantabulous! I am here in Tanzania for Christmas and even ordered a turkey already for dinner. I would be just tickled pink if you could make it either for Christmas and a visit to the library or just one of the above. I was feeling a bit low about a lonely Christmas time and so if you are around that would just turn everything into a Christmas miracle! 🙂 My cell phone number is +255 719 176 281

  5. kyeo2 says:

    Thank you to CUPE391 VPL for your donation towards more textbooks. Your support is much appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: