Jinja Public Library Struggling to Operate

3833 Views Jinja, Uganda

In short
The building housing the library is dilapidated and reflects all its 70 years. Since 2009, the government has been gradually reducing the Librarys quarterly grant from 7.6 million to 5.8 million in 2012 and 3.7 million shillings in 2016.

Jinja Public Library is operating amidst difficulties due to financial challenges. 
The building housing the library is dilapidated and reflects all its 70 years.

Livingstone Muyinda, the librarian says that, although Jinja  Municipality painted the building,  it still leaks. He says that the money received from government is minimal to have the building that was constructed in 1946 renovated.

Since 2009,  the government has been gradually  reducing the Library's quarterly grant from 7.6 million to 5.8 million in 2012 and 3.7 million shillings in 2016.

Muyinda says that this has led to a further decline in service delivery. He notes that part of this money goes to staff facilitation, Internet subscription,  stationery, office maintenance and newspaper purchase. He adds that this funding is too little to pay for water and electricity bills.

Muyinda says that currently the library is operating without water after National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) disconnected the building due to arrears amounting to more than 15 million shillings.

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He adds that the facility has been operating in darkness for over two months due to failure to pay electricity bills of more than two million shillings.  He says that in the absence of power, the computer training section is out of service  and the library does not work in the night.

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Helen Mugimba, one of the administrators at the National Library of Uganda notes that Jinja public Library funding was cut because of the newly created districts that have also opened up libraries. She notes that the funds are being used to support the new libraries.

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However, according to the Jinja district Town Clerk, Francis Byabagambi, the municipality is making proposals to different stake holders in order to get funding to improve the library. He notes that they have bench-marked the Chinese government to fund the expansion of the library.

Jinja public library is one of the the 26 public libraries in the country. Others are in the towns of Arua, Entebbe, Gulu, Hoima, Ibanda, Kabale, Fort Portal, Kagadi and Kalangala among others. 

Other tows with libraries include Kampala, Kamuli, Kisoro, Lira, Masaka, Masindi, Mbale, Mbarara, Moroto, Moyo, Mubende, Nakaseke, Nebbi, Paidha, Soroti and Tororo. 


About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).