Mzuzu University (Mzuni) Tuesday got yet another boost to its library services after the Malawi National Commission for United Nation Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) handed over books and computers worth about K40 million.
UNESCO’s donation follows a request it made to Mzuzu University for the types of books the University would need shortly after the institution’s library services were disrupted by the fire which gutted down the library on December 18, 2015.
With the positive response donors, including UNESCO, are demonstrating since the fire incident, the University authorities strongly believe the library services will be “close to normal” by the time the new academic year starts in September.
Handing over the donation at Mzuni Campus, Executive Secretary of Malawi National Commission for UNESCO, Dr Francis Mkandawire, said the library plays a vital role in the life of any academic institution.
“Despite the move away from print and towards electronic resources, the library continues to fulfill its role as the heart of the university.
“The work the library undertakes contributes directly to the institution’s academic mission,” said Dr Mkandawire.
He added the library also equips students with skills and knowledge they need to achieve academically and maximize their employability.
Mzuzu University’s Vice Chancellor, Dr Robert Ridley, received the donation and commended the Malawi National Commission for UNESCO for the gesture on behalf of the university.
He said it was interesting that a few days after the tragic fire incident, the national commission (for UNESCO) asked his institution for a list of books it would need for the library.
Ridley stated that since the library was burnt down by the fire, donations worth millions of Kwacha have been made from within and outside the country which had assisted the University to reorganize the library so that in few months after the tragedy, the university had a functional library in what used to be an entertainment hall.
“They [UNESCO] responded within days after the tragedy and asked us what books were required,” he said.
In the past, UNESCO has supported Mzuzu University with laboratory equipment and technicalities for Open and Distance Learning Programme.
The organization has also worked with the university through its children’s library where the children conducted a range of outreach programmes designed to promote literacy.
Meanwhile, another consignment of books from a University in Ireland has already arrived in the country, according to Mzuzu University Librarian Felix Majawa.
Mzuzu University library caught fire from an electrical spark in the building which led to the destruction of about 45,000 books, computers and other learning resources worth about K 3 billion.
The incident left the institution’s 4,000 students and the surrounding communities to be in a state of shock.
On the possibility of constructing a new library building, the Vice Chancellor has said it is a big challenge as it will require billions of Kwacha which cannot be sourced from a single donor.
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