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By: - Alhaji Mohamed Wusha-Conteh 26th October 2017

In a bid to facilitate the basic library principle of the right of every individual to information, literacy, cultural development and creative programmes; the Sierra Leone Library Board has commissioned five children’s libraries in the country including Segbwema, Bo, Makeni, Port Loko and Kissy Libraries.

In his welcome address the Chief Librarian Sierra Leone Library Board Mr. Sallieu Turay noted that children are often the first encounter with lifelong learning and introducing them to an exciting, rich and varied resource is a good practice for all children's library professionals. He emphasized that their responsibility is to meet the needs of children by inspiring them at an early age by exposing them to materials that are vital for their personal development throughout their lives.

Mr. Turay lauded Book Aid International for their partnership with the Sierra Leone Library Board as the Library has benefitted so much from the partnership. He disclosed that the package includes refurbishment of five children’s Libraries yearly, training of Librarians to empower them with the necessary skills and knowledge to adequately upkeep the libraries and book purchase component: purchasing books locally published by Sierra Leoneans to ensure that kids are exposed to traditional Sierra Leonean stories.

In his keynote address, the Chairman of the Board Professor S.P.T. Gbamanja encouraged parents and other adults to make use of the library as it is very important that young people who experience difficulty in learning to read have access to a library that will provide them with appropriate material, as this will help them to enrich themselves and enhancing their contribution to society. He stressed that the children's and adult libraries are well equipped with lifelong learning and literacy skills that provides a wide range of materials and activities that can provide them the opportunity to experience the enjoyment of reading and the excitement of discovering knowledge and works of their imagination.

Prof. Gbamanja emphasized that public libraries are a vital part of the community; they provide a neutral space for community engagement, they share vital information relevant to the development of the community, for the community’s children and the youth, and they promote community culture by collecting and preserving cultural information as well providing a space for show casing cultural activities. He stated that libraries are a stepping stone towards the attainment of Government national vision and praised the Book Aid International for their partnership.

In his remarks, a member of the Board Mr. Solomon R. Fofanah reiterated that it is very important for the children’s library to provide early access to information and books, and create contacts with peers, as this will give opportunity to kids to learn how to live with others, protect their own rights while respecting the rights of others. He commended Book Aid International for helping the library to continue their drive to build the linguistic skills needed for evolving competencies of the society.

Mr. Fofanah assured all that the board will continue to give their fullest support to management to provide more Books, magazines, videos, audio and music, which will add to the functionality of the various libraries nationwide.

Other speakers at the ceremony were the Head of the Kissy Library Mrs. Aminata Bangura, the community representative Mrs. Marie Kamara, the contractor for the beautification of the five libraries Mr. Milton B Carew and the Administrative Assistant and Head of Programs Mrs. Theresa Conteh.