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‘Children age 8-12 dominate in library regular visitors’

Jan 22, 2015, 10:00 AM | Article By: Njie Baldeh

Abdou W. Mbye, Director General of Gambia National Library Service Authority (GNLSA), has told the Public Accounts Committee and Public Enterprises Committee PAC/PEC of the National Assembly, that children between ages 8-12 now dominate the proportion of the library regular visitors.

Mr Mbye was speaking on Wednesday at the National Assembly during the adoption of the GNLSA annual activity and financial report 2013 by the PAC/PEC of the National Assembly.

According to Mbye, it was a delight to find them all over the children section reading from their varied collections or using the available resources for homework or study.

Many are enquiring why the GNLSA has not been lending out books for home reading, prompting the public to think that the books were meant for use only within the library or the public must pay to borrow books from the library.

In response to this query, Mr Mbye said these are misconceptions, that they have engaged in clearing doubts, as they are doing their utmost to encourage young people to continue to use the children’s library facilities, as well as borrow books for home reading.

Director Mbye further informed Assembly members that, this year, statistics have also registered a downward spiral in the number of books borrowed for home reading by children and teenagers.

Thus, a total of 933 books were issued to 501 girls and 432 boys, he said.

However, he went on, the number of books borrowed is in inverse proportion to the teeming crowds that visit the library on a daily basis to read the many books available, or use them for homework or study purposes.

He reminded them of a recent study carried out for the World Bank by Diane Sinclair, which found that children who use libraries that help them find information not only do well in their studies, but also continue to use libraries well into adulthood in pursuit of life-long learning.

It has also been established that the use of libraries and reading for pleasure, particularly from earlier age, are the quicker and surest ways of inculcating the reading habit in people, he said.

Their programmes and activities have always been geared towards reader development, he said, adding that they strive towards turning children into avid readers.

These include regular injections of new and interesting books to the collection, and making the section as conducive, welcoming and child-friendly as possible, he stated.