UNIMA librarians receive award

The University of Malawi library has been participating in the USA-based NGO Africa Library Project since 2016. Since then, various communities in all three regions of the country have benefited from the project, thanks mainly to the work of two librarians, Jessy Mphunda and Nancy Mpekansambo, whose efforts have been recognized through their selection as recipients of the 2022 Compassion in Action Award by the African Library Project.

The African Library project was started with the aim of creating small and sustainable libraries in rural Africa. As part of their strategy, they support small libraries in various communities with not more than 2000 books per community. As librarians at the University of Malawi library, Mphunda and Mpekansambo have been instrumental in publicizing the project and helping various people the across the country to apply for support.

Upon receiving the award, both librarians expressed joy and feelings of appreciation. Mphunda observed that the award was a huge motivator, especially when she considered all the time she had put into it. She also felt that it would have a positive impact on the way the profession of a librarian is regarded. “The award could serve as an eye opener to other librarians to realize that they can go the extra mile, and have an impact on communities outside their workstation,” she said.

On her part, Mpekansambo similarly expressed thanks to the University of Malawi community for teamwork shown in distributing the application forms to various rural communities, transporting books to those communities, and helping to fund training sessions for teacher librarians. She observed that it is always gratifying to see the happiness on people’s faces when they receive the books: “Many people don’t believe us when we tell them they will get the books. It can take several months for the books to arrive, and when they finally do, the excitement of the recipients is satisfying enough,” she said.

The librarians expressed thanks to UNIMA management for assisting in transporting books from the port of entry to the UNIMA library, from where they are sorted according to the different schools or communities that apply.