A School Library in Sub-Saharan Africa

Johanna Anderson


This paper reports on the success and suitability of a Western-donated school library in furthering literacy and reader development in Malawi.

A qualitative, case study approach was taken using semi-structured interviews with teachers and a library assistant at a primary school in Malawi.

The research reveals positive attitudes towards reading and literacy in a predominantly oral culture. Limitations include a lack of attention to reader development and inappropriateness of materials for the local context.

The study reveals that the book donation model commonly supported by international donors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) falls short in its ability to contribute to global literacy and education targets. Recommendations to improve impact are given.

This research is original in representing the voices of school teachers in the debate over the suitability of libraries and the overseas book donation model to the sub-Saharan African context.


international development; literacy, reader development, book donation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29173/lirg456

CILIP Registered Charity no 313014

ISSN 1756-1086 (Online)