May 27, 2022

Report: “With Its First Mobile Library, Uganda Starts to Build a Reading Culture”

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Mr. Katalaga drives a motorbike taxi, or boda boda as they’re called here, to deliver books in and out of Kampala as part of the Malaika Mobile Library – the first of its kind in Uganda.

Children are the primary borrowers of this mobile library, which was always the aim, says Rosey Sembataya, who founded the venture in late 2014. As an English teacher and owner of a publishing house, she has seen firsthand how hard it is for children in Uganda to gain access to reading material, and how that handicap has trickled down into the classroom “where the effects of not reading are [so] glaring it hurts,” she says.

Through the Malaika library, parents pay about $30 a year to borrow up to three books a week from a catalogue of about 500 books. With books costing up to $3, this offers huge savings for parents who want to instill a love for reading in their children.


At the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) library library, they hold about 1,000 children’s books, a librariarian says. They range from African-themed picture books to High School Musical. But only 10-20 children a month borrow books from here, despite the free membership. Forty children a month now borrow books from the Malaika program –which is much smaller.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.