Edward Ndlovu Community Libraries
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The first programme we operated when we opened 20 years ago was a public lending and borrowing library and we have continuously expanded it until today, moving from a temporary location at a secondary school to the first wing or our own library building, and eventually building a second wing.  It is situated in Gwanda town next to the Municipal and Rural District Council offices.  The adult wing has space for 60 people seated, general circulation books, reference books and a newspaper table.  There is also a computer with broadband connection for public use; we are forced to charge a small fee due the cost of the very slow internet connection.  The children's wing can also seat 60 or more, and between the two rooms we house a collection of over 18,000 books.  In 2013 we made a total of 16,977 loans and the total number of users counted (including many repeats) was 29,888. Those who cannot pay the small subscription fee are free to use books in the library but they cannot borrow.

The Public Library Programme

The children's wing is frequently used for public events sponsored by the library or leased out to other groups as a small source of income when it is not being used for the children.  Our chairs are sometimes leased as well, especially for weddings or by churches which do not have their own buildings.  When the Czech Embassy sponsored the collection of Ndebele folk tales and their translation into English, accompanied by a poster display, the library hosted the exhibition for Matabeleland South.  In 2010 Weaver Press, a prestigious Harare publisher of local literature and academic and general non-fiction books celebrated ten years of publishing; they sponsored a seminar at which A level English students were able to interact with local writers. In 2010 Professor Terence Ranger, emeritus professor at Oxford University and the pre-eminent historian of Zimbabwean history, gave a lecture about the nationalist movement of the 1960's to A level History students.  Through such events we are attempting to make the library a centre for the cultural life of the community as well as a place for learning and debate.

Books are received through donations from Book Aid International, Weaver Press and several other friends and well-wishers.

Books are catalogued using the Dewey decimal and AACR2 systems by the librarian or the library assistants.  Books range from fiction to spiritual reading and academic texts as well as many others relevant to various professions. Children's books are both fiction and non-fiction.  

In a community where housing is seriously overcrowded and very few have a room of their own to work in, the library provides a quiet place to read as well as access to the relevant resources needed.  The library staff have assisted many users to navigate the internet, a skill which is not widely held in a poorly resourced community. The largest group of users is students from the colleges - mainly the polytech including teachers in training.

Library Members