Madaraka Nyerere Library and
Community Resource Center
The Madaraka Nyerere Library and Community Resource Center (LCRC) was envisioned by community leaders in the Mara region as a "kituo cha maarifa" ("knowledge center") for the villages in the Rural Musoma area and a place for educational innovation. Constructed in 2016, the LCRC now houses the largest collection of books in Kiswahili of any private community library in the country. Although English is one of Tanzania's national languages, literacy in English in rural areas is very low. To maximize accessible content for LCRC users, the library's collection was carefully curated by local experts with community input from hundreds of families.
The LCRC also includes facilities for pre-primary educational programs, community meetings and educational seminars, multiple computer labs, and a teacher resource center. As the LCRC progresses from bricks to books and beyond, TDS works with our local partners towards a vision of a 21st Century place for learning. Construction of the necessary infrastructure to provide internet to the facility is underway and will soon connect the LCRC to the digital world, providing tremendous opportunities for teachers and students to access free educational resources.
The flexible design of the LCRC allows it to adapt to the needs of the community around it, acting as a hub for several outreach programs. TDS is currently working on developing two pilot projects; a mobile classroom that utilizes portable technology to bring the LCRC's resources to villages and schools with limited access to power and internet, and the Mara Innovation Lab for Education (Project MILE). Project MILE exposes teachers in the Mara region to innovative teaching practices and provides them with opportunities to pursue professional development that is absent.
As we develop the framework for both of the projects, we are also working diligently with our local partners to ensure that the LCRC is a sustainable operation through the next decade. A fundamental part of a sustainable library is an active membership base, just like libraries in other parts of the world. One of the biggest challenges to growing a membership base is educating the public on the value a library can have for children and adults. Many of those living in the villages around Nyegina have never had access to a facility like the LCRC.
Our primary goal for the next five years is to support the LCRC staff operations by funding memberships for children and parents. Those that receive a sponsored membership will be asked to serve as LCRC ambassadors by using their membership to check books out and take them back to their villages to share. The head librarian will also be starting a Boda-Boda Book Mobile (Boda-Boda is slang for motorcycle taxi in Tanzania) and taking books into different villages and hosting reading circles with children and their parents.
Please consider supporting our goal of making the LCRC sustainable by sponsoring memberships for our LCRC Ambassador program. Your gift will not only ensure that the LCRC is operational in the years to come, but it will also provide a valuable membership to students and adults to utilize their one of a kind facility.