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All is set for the village that reads

Been wondering what the village that reads looks like, its location, kinds of people staying there. Think no further. This article has narrowed every single detail of “The Village That Reads”.

You might have heard of many community libraries in your district or region, we will get to them too.

For the first time, I embarked on a journey to Arua city, North West of Uganda (about 500 kilometers) to engage a Community Library in the “Drop Everything And Read (DEAR)” week.

This is Monica Memorial Resource Centre (MMRC) in Onzivu Parish, Ayibiri village. The library has existed and served the community for 6 months since its inception in August 2022. With a seating capacity of about 30 users, the library has both regular and irregular readers.



With a unique location neighboring Muni University of Science and Technology, the library is open to both locals and University students. Being a registered member of the Community Libraries Association of Uganda, it is now known as the most active community library in the region. 

Amazing things happen here. The community library is run by a group of passionate youth who manage the library in the best way possible by mobilizing people to come for reading activities.

Opening hours are from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday to Sunday.

If we get a source of power like solar or electricity, we shall extend our reading time,” says Emmanuel Anguyo, Founding member and Team Leader at MMRC.

This is already interesting, yes. That’s Ayibiri community. The library attracts both schooling and non-schooling children from ages 5-12, parents, and guardians. The library is free and open to all users. MMRC also serves urban refugees staying within and outside Ayibiri village. This has been possible with the existence of a strong book lending system.

Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) week was held by community libraries all over Uganda between the 16th to 22nd of January 2023. However, at MMRC, it was conducted on Saturday 21st, and was branded “DEAR Xtra Bonanza” because it was a solid wrap-up of reading activities including but not limited to Reading Aloud, Spelling, Drawing, and Painting, Silent/Individual, motivational speeches, and others.

With over 100 participants in the DEAR Week, gifts were awarded to participants who emerged winners in several activities. The village showed that they were all set for the day, with lots of amazing partners who came through spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Arua Eco City, World Vision Uganda, Oasis Book Project, Arua City Council, Voice of Life FM radio and Onzivu Community.



The day was graced by Guest Reader Rotarian Alfred Okuonzi also the Local Council 5 of Arua City. He was accompanied by the Resident District Commissioner of Madi Okollo who shared values and tips for reading. 

Some 163 books were donated to the resource center to add to their collection to support an increase in reading materials, timely access to a variety of information, and also improve the book-to-user ratio.


Reading materials are few and users have to share in groups. However, this creates unity and a love of sharing among them. The main objective of DEAR was to highlight the importance of reading as far as fighting illiteracy is concerned and also to improve the reading culture in the community. This cannot be done without the efforts of the different stakeholders like government entities, NGOs; CBOs, parents, guardians, local leaders; spiritual leaders, a community of interest, professional bodies, and personnel among others. 

“One of the sad realities today is that very few people, especially young, read books. Unless we can find imaginative ways to address this reality, future generations are in danger of losing their history,” Nelson Mandela.

The guest reader Rotarian Alfred Okuonzi quoted that “Show me a family of Readers and I show you how they move”. Reading has moved people to places and it’s no doubt the Village that Reads has not been left behind for such journeys.

Communities that raise better people are those that value reading. Let us join hands and support such initiatives in our communities for development. 

For God and My Country

Pius Owiny is the Marketing & Systems Librarian

  • Asbat Digital Library
  • Monica Memorial Resource Centre
  • Amuca Community Library

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