Important: what can we “offer” a volunteer – food and accommodation? But most importantly – what kind of tasks?
Volunteering at a community library in Uganda is a great opportunity. As a volunteer you will normally be working closely with one community library, but this, and other decisions will be discussed with you. There are a lot of differences between libraries, and the work you do depends on their needs as well as your interests and skills. The exact nature of your volunteer work will have to be decided in agreement with the library where you will be placed, but typical tasks will be:
- assisting the librarian(s)
- helping improve record keeping
- reading to children
- teaching basic computer use
- working on outreach programs (activities at schools etc.)
- collecting and publishing stories in English and the local language
Volunteers who come through UgCLA are asked to raise $1000. This money includes an escort to the library, a stay in Kampala, if necessary, and food and lodging at the library.
If you are thinking about volunteering with UgCLA, a good place to start is the library member profiles and the list of members. Not all libraries have the capacity to accept volunteers, and some would certainly like to, but have not told us.
Please contact UgCLA if you want to discuss an appropriate placement, based on your interests and skills.
Several libraries have already hosted volunteers, including Kawempe Youth Centre, Christian Community Foundation, Blessed Foster Family Foundation and Caezeria Complex Public Library. If you want to learn about volunteers’ experiences, UgCLA can put you in touch with past volunteers.
There are many possibilities for doing field work for a BA/MA thesis or other academic work. This is a great opportunity for students in Library and Information Studies, Anthropology, Linguistics, Education, Development Studies and many other areas of study.
One MA thesis has been written on a community library in Uganda under the auspices of UgCLA, and several researchers have published articles on community libraries in Uganda. See Further Information for details.
UgCLA can offer interested students help in choosing a library, mediate contact and help with practical issues. Promoting more research is a focus area for UgCLA, and we will be happy to answer your questions.