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.



  1. Lets be realistic here, all public libraries are free except that you contribute a certain fee for annual membership which ranges btween K100-K200.Do not mislead people.

  2. …that is very true, I think they have to review this with urgency. When coming up with such decisions there has to be proper consultations with all stakeholders including the youths who are the ones mostly accessing library services. If we can calculate total consultation fees for 20 days a month we will get Mk2000.00, so where do you think those youths who are very poor will be getting this amount of cash per month in order to access services. In a year we are talking of Mk24,000.00; zovuta kwabasi!!!!

  3. The only problem is that some of the books are abused by the readers as well as those people working within the library in short ( Stealing). You go in many libraries you will not find the much needed book of your choice. Just wish that the fee that has been put in place should not be a burden to those who are really in need of the books. Knowledge is power, u acquire knowledge through reading of these books. : Some Malawians in the Northern… please Edit the sentence..

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  5. In malawi everything should be completely free,even condoms for a fuck should be free,so hard to sample out for her destiny in this 21stcentury..

  6. Exactly is killing our reading cultue so that Malawi has got nothing for free first it was public hospitals now public libraries ha! Its better to be illiterate its not a disease that cause death.

    • U are wrong Maya,we are living in diffrent world,ds is another lifestyle,gone are days we used to get such important facilities n other access for free, we’ve to leave with time now,look at all cheap things now are just useless n government resources now are so limited n few against the population rate.

    • Zaulele zinapita ndi Bakili this time around everything you have to pay for.Those who like to read can not be bared by a fee like that.If u think education is expensive,try ingnorance

  7. I have no comment guys at a moment, I dont know how to read or write because I didnt go to school, moreover there are no libraries in my district.

  8. Iya. Nanga mMalawi monsemuno ma library ali Ku mpoto kokha? Kapena inuyo ndiye amene mumadziwa kuwerenga kwambiri? ku mmwera ndi pakati mwamva akulongolola zimenezi?

  9. Vuto tilinalo amalawi ndiloti nkani ikangolembedwa kuchokera kumpoto, Umva ayamba kutchula mitundu ya anthu m’malo mongocomenta post m’mene yabwerera, limeneri ndivuto lalikulu kaya ndicani kaya, koma atumbukawo sanyoza or kutukwana mitundu yakumwera or pakati mdziko la Malawi. Kusankana mitundu koma anthu adziko limozi sizingathandize or pang’ono.

  10. A malawi lets avoid kufuna zaulele pena paliponse. mpaka library mukufuna free ride? mwatani kodi, ngati mukuthawa kuwerenga ndi ulesi chabe osati pa fees zo ayi

  11. Is reading also our culture, since when?…, I thought dancing vimbuza, beni, ngule wamkulu, manganje, ingoma, tchopa and the likes is our culture, so you have now added reading on top of those cultures we had before, or reading has been placed with that culture of kulowa fisi?……those who really like reading will still going there to read without complaining about the library fee or they will buy their own books rather going to the library to pay for them to access the books!

  12. Nkhani si ma fees koma ulesi wowelenga. Malawians generally lack reading culture. Olo atanrna kuti ndi ulere anthu si kuti azipita ambiri. NICE amalipirisa?

  13. We must know that all the services are delivered by the government, so at least we must pay some fee bcz there are some people who work in the building. And they are employees. Its not for free, that NL.

  14. kodi mukutandauza kuti nkhani zakupoto kwadziko lamalawi musamalembe?sikusankhana mutundu kumeneko,ati kupoto basi atumbuka,chamba kwambiri,titati tisankhani mitundu apa zochita mupezeka kuti kaya ndinu akumwela kapena pakati nde othelapo pazambiri.bwanji osangokometa ndimene nkhani yabwelela.mbudzi,agalu,alisilo,atombolombo nonse mumangokhalila kusankhana mitundu apa.anthu alisilo inu.

  15. ku stadium timalipila k1000 kuti tionele mpira. Ku ChezNtemba timapereka k500 kuti tivine. Sand festival ndi Lake of Stars amatilipirisa k15000. How much is the library fee u r complaining about?

  16. Reading culture is not killed by fee in libraries.
    There were not many libraries in those days,yet people were reading. We had Malawi Book Service and in Blentyre the was a Central Bookshop where we used to buy books in all sphere of knowledge.
    What has killed reading culture is corruption. There are ready riches in corruption and people are intersted in deals.
    I know of a youngman who left Unima citing “i will make more money in business.
    Please tell your government through MP to increase the vote of NATIONAL LIBRARY SERVICE so that they can run things as before.
    The fee you are complainig about is nothing compare to what the MNLS needs. You did not mention MNLS but i know they charge fee. Compare the fee to the cost of a simple children book at £2.00.

  17. No thats not true, our culture in Malawi is dancing and not reading, why are people paying so much entry fees, let’s not cry for every free things

    • We can pa K30,000 at Lake of stars, Sand festivals, and K5000 kuma blacks but ku Library anthu akulira ka K3500 nakonso kotchaja akamabwereka ma books

    • We are not used to reading culture tisanamepo apa, we even fail examinations which was formed from the same books you use as a pillow, we even fail to know where exactly lake malombe, lake Kazuni. masewe falls, Sapitwa, Nacara, Likoma island yet all these are written in a lot of books, we can’t even mention who is our current minister of Foreign affairs but all these are in our news papers. We only like listening to America rap music even if you get nothing out of it still you love them, even if the American singer sing bad of you the listener still people go and buy his music, we tend to love Nigerian and Tanzanian songs we dance our legs above the ground even of the meaning is hazardous people will still pay for such artists when they come to Malawi……..all in all, we buy a newspaper now at K550 which expires the same day. We even buy data bundles so we can everyday talk to our girlfriends mmmmmm amalawife ndikuvina basi.

    • Amalawi sungawamvetse…….kapena anzanganu mudaonapo mu Malawi muno pali miyambo yina kwa mtundu wina uliwonse wopikisana kuwerenga?????? Ine ndikungoona onse amakhala opikisana kuvina, malipenga, gule wankulu, Vimbuza, tchopa, ingoma, Beni, Ndolo, chioda, zakwa mlakho zija, chinamwali etc, onsewa ndi ma dansi okhaokha no reading or what soever

    • Panali anthu atatu, waku England, waku China ndi waku Malawi……anthuwa anapatsidwa ma kalata oti akapereke ku dziko lina, munthu waku England ali junkies anatsegula kalata take yija nayamba kuwerenga, ndipo sanapitilire ulendo wake iye anathawira kudziko lina. Waku china uja anatsegulanso ndikupeza uthenga, iyeyo anamuuza mzake waku Malawi kuti kodi ayisey iweyo mu kalata mwakomo alembamo kuti chani? Munthu waku Malawi uja anati, bwanawe ine ndi munthu wopemphera ndipo zowerengawerengazi simbali yanga, uja anati komatu simakalata abwino ngofunika tibwerere mzangawe…… Onse anabwerera koma waku Malawi kamba koto sanawerenge anakafikitsa kwa anthu omwe amafuna kukamuzinga iyeyo. Chodabwitsa nachi, ena onse anathawa koma waku Malawi sanathawe koma mu kalatamo munali Mawu oti munthu ulwahweretsa kalatayo ndi amend tapereka kuti muchite nsembe

  18. We must learn not to play the ‘ race card’ whenever a certain subject is brought to light. Prejudice retards positive thinking. Promoting ones’ race erodes respect of others. Probably the reason why we do not love ourselves as Malawians. And this is the only bait used politically to divide us

  19. Come on people. You want everything for free. When they give you poor services you will be in the forefront crying. You don’t pay you don’t read, that’s it. We need improved services.

  20. munazolowera za ulele a Tumbuka inu. Mukufuna kuwerenga ndiinu nde mukufuna azikulipilirani ndani? Zomweziso mpaka palowe ndalama za misonkho? iiiiiya?

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