The Uganda Community Libraries Association’s (UgCLA) main activities include organizing an annual conference and regional workshops, distributing grants and recruiting volunteers.
National conferences and workshops
From 2007-2010, UgCLA organized workshops twice a year for our member libraries to attend, allowing them to send a representative. Then, UgCLA became too big, so we organize an annual conference instead. The workshops and conferences are always organized around a theme related to projects carried out throughout the year. Past themes have been reading programmes for children, libraries for health and libraries as centres for education and development.
We organize our members into regional clusters. These clusters are expected to change as more libraries join UgCLA, while others become inactive. In 2011, UgCLA provided a small budget to each cluster to hold a workshop at a library and on a topic chosen by the cluster. UgCLA was not able to provide a budget for 2012 but we hope to revive these workshops in 2013.
We have distributed several grants from donors to our members network. Sometimes, the libraries receiving grants are chosen by UgCLA’s Steering Committee, based on the strengths and needs of certain members. More often, libraries go through a competitive process, in which all interested libraries write proposals that are judged either by members of the Board or by the grant donors.
We recruit international volunteers to work in our member libraries. These volunteers raise money for UgCLA, and we place them in libraries according to their interests. We provide room and board, and arrange for volunteers to be met and escorted to their placements. We are also available to help in case of an emergency.
The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) study abroad programme also sends volunteers on a regular basis to the Kitengesa Community Library and the Busolwe Public Library.
If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our Volunteer section.