Reforms: National Library introduces user fees

The National Library Service has commercialised all its services from 1 July this year as part of the reforms that Government is implementing in all its departments.

National Librarian, Gray Nyali in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) said the National Library introduced daily user fee as part of the government reforms programme.

Nyali confimed that this is the only way for Malawians to start contributing to the development of their National Library services noting that he has no doubt the initiative is going to be a great success.

”We promise to provide quality service to match with the introduction of the user daily entry fee and our services in extra mural department have also been adjusted upwards,” said Nyali.

Despite all hopes that the National Library is giving to its clients that the reforms the institution is undertaking will improve services, students see the development as an obstacle to promoting reading culture in Malawi.

One of the students at Namiwawa community day secondary school, Agnes Kagwa said Secondary school students cannot afford to pay K100 while children cannot afford to pay K50 daily whenever they want to use the library.

She said in Malawi most of the students do not take reading as a habit so with the daily reading fee many students will have an excuse for not reading or going to find information from the library observing that only a few will be able to use the library frequently.

“The K100 for adult daily reading fee and K50 for children may appear little to the people who have a good financial base but as we are facing economic challenges in the country students who used to use the library everyday when it was free of charge will not be able to go there again as they used to do and this may demoralise the culture of reading at the National Library,” said Agnes.

One of the beneficiaries of free reading service of National Library, Gilbert Moyo who is now a lecturer at the Malawi Institute of Journalism said the reforms at the National Library are good for the department but most young people will not benefit because the price per day will milk young peoples money.

Moyo believes that the free reading service that the National Library was providing was very important to young people and many people have achieved their goals because of the free reading services that were offered at the National Library.

“The library benefited me when I was studying for my university entrance exams that time when it was for free,” said Moyo who is now a lecturer of the MIJ at the Lilogwe campus.

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA