20 November 2016 Last updated at: 10:13 AM

Library fees killing reading culture in Malawi

Some Malawians in the northern have observed that charging people to access library services is killing the reading culture in the country.

This comes barely few weeks after this publication established that since government implemented fees on library services, the number of people visiting the libraries has declined.

Our team’s frequent visit to Mzuzu National Library Services established that every day, the library is visited by not more than 10 people, while in the past, the facility would be filled to capacity.

Most people we found outside, struggling to pay MK100 fees said that government robbed their access to reading and borrowing books from the library.

Malawi National Library

User fees at National Libraries killing the reading culture.

“We don’t have the money but we want to go inside and read. Government didn’t reason well before introducing the fees because not everyone can manage to raise and pay the demanded fees,” said Maxwell Beza, an accountancy student at a college in the city

Another concerned person, Dhumisani Chirwa, said government’s introduction of the fees is contributing to the declining of reading culture in the country.

He observed that the library fee which seem to be small, may not be managed by everyone thus people will start to disregard reading as vital in their lives.

Renowned writer and poet John Nkhata shared similar sentiments, saying government must consider revisiting the decision.

“In a country where we already have lazy people in as far as reading is concerned, it is awkward to introduce such fees in reading places. To me, as a writer I thought government would have implemented some measures that would encourage people to adopt culture of reading,” said Nkhata.

Several efforts to hear the views of authorities from the Malawi National Library Services, proved futile, as they kept on referring our team to different people who were not interested to comment on the issue.

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