Public and school libraries, long neglected, are experiencing a resurgence of local and international interest.
Public and school libraries are often the only source of reading material for people in communities where the first generation of young persons is achieving high rates of schooling. For example, in Burkina Faso, purchasing a book is simply out of reach for most village parents. School children share classroom textbooks and have little access to books outside of the classroom. Appropriate reading materials in local libraries can enhance and deepen acquisition of literacy. Sustained development of literacy skills and reading habits is widely considered to be intrinsically worthwhile, and also has a number of well-documented valuable spillover effects. This panel will examine the performance and impact of public and school libraries in African settings. Space for possibly 1 extra paper on reading/libraries.