SEEN and HEARD: Challenging the perceptions of children in libraries in sub-Saharan Africa

HAYNES, Jill (2014) SEEN and HEARD: Challenging the perceptions of children in libraries in sub-Saharan Africa. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2014 - Lyon - Libraries, Citizens, Societies: Confluence for Knowledge in Session 144 - Africa with Libraries for Children and Young Adults. In: IFLA WLIC 2014, 16-22 August 2014, Lyon, France.

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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

SEEN and HEARD: Challenging the perceptions of children in libraries in sub-Saharan Africa

Younger children have often been discouraged from using public libraries in sub-Saharan Africa as they are perceived as noisy, disruptive and messy. With the typical African public library user being male aged over 16 , using the library as a place to study for secondary or tertiary level exams, and with many libraries housing tired and tattered copies of story books shelved out of reach and library staff wary of engaging with younger users , it’s no wonder that “children’s exposure to libraries is limited…” in many countries. Since 2009, Book Aid International (BAI) and library partners have been challenging the perceptions (of librarians, library users, teachers and children) that the library is not a place for children, by creating child-friendly spaces. Training library staff to run children’s libraries has been the most effective way of changing perceptions. Book Aid International have developed a series of training resources to facilitate the transformation to vibrant children’s libraries.

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