Libraries, Literacy and Poverty Reduction: A Key to African Development

“The role that libraries in Africa could play in reducing poverty has not been sufficiently recognised and hence the necessary policy developments and investment in the library network have not yet been made. Policy makers and donors, recognising the link between poverty reduction and literacy, have given centre stage to textbooks in policies to increase literacy and student achievement levels. Yet textbooks are the beginning of the solution, not the complete answer. Libraries sustain literacy and do so on a reuse basis providing a cost effective means of support for a whole community of readers who seek information for tackling their own problems. This paper, written by a respected and experienced African educator and librarian, points the way ahead for Africa with affordable and achievable library strategies to enable the poorest communities to participate in their own development.”

The resource highlights the link between literacy and access to information with a range of challenges, for example survival information (related to health, housing, income, legal protection, economic opportunity, political rights, etc.) and citizen action information (for effective participation as individuals or members of a group in the social, political, legal and economic process). (p.6)