UgCLA is a frugal organization, operating with minimal administrative costs. The vast majority of its revenue goes to its member libraries, either through direct grants or training and encouragement provided through conferences, workshops and visits. Currently, the Uganda Community Libraries Association depends on the following sources of revenue:
- Member payments. As of 2013, each member library will pay an annual subscription of 50,000 Uganda shillings and make an annual contribution of the same amount.
- Volunteer contributions. Each volunteer is asked to raise $1000 for UgCLA.
- Grants from organizations. This funding is generally designated for projects in particular libraries.
- Contributions from private donors. Those who wish to support UgCLA’s work send their contributions to Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL) who forward the funds to UgCLA as needed.
- Contributions in kind. Ka Tutandike has generously provided UgCLA with office space, for which UgCLA does not pay rent. UgCLA’s Board members are also generous with their time, carrying out tasks for the Association without payment.
Our members are libraries and information centres, serving local – most rural – Uganda communities. They are independent institutions, and their participation in our activities is voluntary. They are responsible to UgCLA only if they receive a grant or a donation from an outside donor, via UgCLA’s agency.
The libraries vary in resources and capacity. Some receive regular support, allowing them to build collections of several thousand books and to develop many programmes. Other offer their users only a few books and may have to hold their activities under a tree.
Most libraries have about hundred books and a decent-sized room or building where people can meet and read. Many are affiliated with neighbouring schools, and have adult literacy programmes. Some libraries also run craft groups and public health activities because they believe they should support the whole community and not just its literate members.
Several libraries are a part of a development project, working with a local NGO. The majority of our member libraries were founded through local Ugandan initiatives and have deep roots within their communities. Some also have foreign support, which is how they can afford salaries for the librarians. Those without this kind of support depend on volunteer librarians, donations and other income generating activities like charging mobile photos (though this is dependent on having electricity).