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Reviving reading culture in Africa's most populous country


07-29-2014 00:25 BJT

Enriching and preserving a language has often rested on the power of its writing, and the literature born out of it. But it's no surprise to anyone today, that reading has become some what of an ancient hobby, as old as writing itself.  In Africa's largest country Nigeria, libraries sit empty as people find it more enjoyable to catch a movie. But one small start up is embarking on the audacious mission of reviving reading culture in Nigeria by bringing the library to peoples homes.

Once every week, Funmi Ilori drives her mobile library into this housing estate to service her subscribers.

The honking of the horn signals the arrival of the library.

And soon as the truck is parked into space, the subscribers begin to stream out of their homes.

Before long, the mobile library is filled and the serious business of reading begins.

They spend one hour in the library reading, reviewing and listening to stories from the initiator, herself.

The Mobile library initiative is Funmi's idea of reviving the dying reading culture in the country.

Since people hardly visit public libraries, she decided the best idea would be to take the library to them. And so with some funding from the Nigerian Government youth empowerment programme known as YOUWIN, she began the IRead mobile library project in October last year.

About ten months down the line, IRead mobile library is making steady progress and attracting more children.

The mobile library now serves about 12 housing estates and primary schools in Lagos. With more children registering, the library is now getting smaller and running out of shelves to stock books.

For now Funmi and her team of six are yet to record any commercial success but their initiative is gradually catching on and changing attitudes. It might like an impossible dream but Funmi and her team have already taken the vital first steps.

Today's review is over. The children are gradually leaving now and returning to their homes. There is no question at all that this is a unique initiative. In this case the children don't have to go to the library but the library now comes to them.




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