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Donkeys help provide Multi-media Library Services

PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release
25 February 2002
The Hague, Netherlands

Donkeys are providing effective multi-media library services in Zimbabwe, according to the latest IFLA Professional Report

IFLA's Mobile Libraries Round Table commissioned the assessment of Donkey Drawn Libraries in Zimbabwe with the view to learning from their experiences so that lessons can be learned which can be used in planning similar projects elsewhere.

The Donkey Drawn Libraries were developed to provide library extension and outreach services to remote communities in the Nkayi District in north-western Zimbabwe. It is estimated that the literacy rate in this district is around 86% and this is largely attributed to the established and emerging library services.

The mobile units are Donkey Drawn Electro-Communication Library Carts. Besides functioning as a mobile library with a collection of books and other printed works, it works as a centre for electric and electronic communication: radio, telephone, fax, e-mail, Internet.

Each cart is provided with a solar unit installed on the roof; a battery charged by this solar energy supplies the electric power. Audio-visual apparatus is installed in a cabinet at the back of the cart and electronic data equipment and storage facilities for battery, inverter, distilled water (for tte batteries), books, music disks and records, video cassettes, etc. are installed on cabinets at both sides of the cart. The unit can also be provided with an aerial or a satellite dish.

To date, four of these donkey mobile libraries are operational in Nkayi District. Their services have proved a strong networking exercise since they afford the participating static libraries a unique experience of offering library and information services to remote communities or areas that are inaccessible due to poor road infrastructure.

This assessment involved interviews, reviews of documentary sourcing, observing practices, examination of collections and procedures, discussion and evaluation sessions. The study concludes that the services provided by the Donkey Drawn Carts are very polular with the communities served. Indeed they were initiated by the communities, which were directly involved in the project design, planning, implementation and evaluation.

The report contains recommendations for a range of diverse activities that could assist in the further development of the Donkey Drawn Mobile Library Services. The number of requests from other communities for similar services is overwhelming and international support is needed to establish sustainable structures for these services.

The Donkey Drawn Mobile Library Services in Zimbabwe, August 6-13, 2001. Report on the Assessment of Non-Motorized Mobile Libraries / By Thelma H. Tate, under the auspices of the IFLA Round Table on Mobile Libraries and the Moroney Bookmobile Company, USA. The Hague, IFLA Headquarters, 2002. - 40p. 30 cm. - (IFLA Professional Reports : 72) ISBN 90-70916-84-3

This publication can be ordered from IFLA Headquarters for EUR 10:

Karin Passchier
IFLA Headquarters
P.O. Box 95312
2509 CH The Hague
Netherlands Karin.passchier@ifla.org


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