Dr. Valeda Dent and Dr. Geoff Goodman have spent many years working in rural Uganda exploring the impact of the rural village library in a number of rural communities including Kitengesa, Kabubbu, Mpigi, and Ggulama. The research may also expand to Kenya in the near future. The researchers work closely with Dr. Kate Parry and the Uganda Community Libraries Association (UgCLA) and with Dr. Michael Kevane, Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL) to conduct some of their work.
There are currently several key areas of exploration, each initially influenced by and related to the role of the rural village library:
- Gender, Familial, and Social Roles
- Learning Readiness
- General Library Impact on the Community
- Relationship Between Children's Art, Learning Readiness, and Self-Representation
- Caregiver Impact on Learning Readiness
In addition, the researchers try to stay up-to-date on publications that may relate to rural community and village libraries and related topics as these inform the work. This bibliography - although not exhaustive - is updated periodically and may be useful for those interested in this area of study. The researchers also published a book "Rural Community Libraries in Africa: Challenges and Impacts" (with Dr. Michael Kevane) in 2013. This book investigates the relationship between local libraries and community development. From the historical roots of rural libraries to their influence on the literacy, economy, and culture of the surrounding region, this book presents academics, researchers, and, most importantly, librarians with crucial insight into the tangible benefits of rural community libraries and the obstacles they must overcome.
There are many organizations that are at work in the developing world to address issues related to access to information. Those that have heavily influenced the research you will find here are:
The Uganda Community Libraries Association
Friends of African Village Libraries
Inspired by the belief that libraries are a common good and a key component for development, social change, and learning in the developing world, the researchers are motivated to disseminate their work so that those interested in supporting and building more community libraries will have an evidence-based framework to inform their efforts.
Our Research Team
Our work demands a dedicated and creative group of folks who are committed to learning more about serving developing areas through community and rural libraries and library services. Click here for a complete listing of our research team.
The Rural Village Libraries Research Network is a registered non-profit and a 501 (3)(c) organization (EIN 47-4389391) .