In Summary

The issue:
Library closure
Our view:
What proprietors of the Maama Watali Public Library and Resource Centre did not take into account is that it is no longer business as usual. They should have digitised the books and also market the facility online such as on social media.

Maama Watali Public Library and Resource Centre, a facility with a wide-range of reading materials launched in 2010 in Luweero District, has closed shop, as Daily Monitor reported yesterday.

Mr Jackson Ddamba, a director at Maama Watali Public Library, told this newspaper that Friends of Luweero and the Rotary Club of Ottawa in Canada donated more than 100,000 reading materials to inculcate a reading culture in the area, but this has not been achieved.

“It has been a painful decision for both the donors, who had more books to send to the people of Luweero and us, who are managing the library. The librarian has been in place for the last seven years, but nobody turns up to read the books,” Ddamba said. “You can imagine wide range of reference materials are lying idle. The facility has been open for five days a week, but without customers to use the books. We have decided to have the facility closed,” Mr Ddamba said.

The revelation is sad, especially for a country like ours that needs vast research and reading to improve the quality of graduates. It also points to an even bigger picture on the path proprietors should take today. For instance, whereas the officials attribute this to poor reading culture and the desire by most students to read only what is on the school syllabus, Mr Emmanuel Kabonge, a retired primary school head teacher, partly attributes the closure to the Internet. He says today, many students and researchers do their research online, which takes away the bulk of their would-be clients.

Whereas both parties raise the right causes to the closure of the library, the latter – the Internet – should interest us the more. Businesses world over today are either bleeding as a result of the Internet onslaught or are in bliss for embracing the digital era. For example, big international businesses such as Kodak, Nokia, Xerox, DEC (The Digital Equipment Corp), Lucent, Motorola, Atari, and Marconi lost a lot in market share due to failure to think for the future.

What proprietors of the Maama Watali Public Library and Resource Centre did not take into account is that it is no longer business as usual. They should have digitised the books and also market the facility online such as on social media platforms. A business no longer has to depend on local customers; it needs to open its doors to both local and international markets through the Internet.
Gone are the days of managing businesses on the store or by the roadside. Today, people use the Internet to communicate and market their products and manage their clients

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