Chitipa District is yet to have a national library structure, close to 50 years since the National Library Service (NLS) was established by an Act of Parliament in 1967 to help promote, equip and establish libraries in the country.
The district has also been by-passed in the past five phases of the Mass ICT Literacy Sanitation project that has already covered Blantyre, Mangochi, Monkey-Bay, Dedza, Balaka, Mchinji, Kasungu, Ntchisi, Salima, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Phalombe and Thyolo, with the recently launched phase targeting Lilongwe urban.
This is hindering residents from accessing vital information for their socio-economic development, officials say.
Chitipa district information officer Edgrant Ndoza said meanwhile, residents depend on the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust library .
“That is where they read newspapers, but it is small and limited in terms of books,” he said.
Confirming the development in a telephone interview on Tuesday, National Librarian Gray Nyali said past efforts to run the service in the district did not bear fruit.
He said: “As the NLS, we run libraries in districts thanks partly to a project we ran from 2007 in conjunction with the Canadian Government.”
The project had a book donation component to start with, according to Nyali.
He said: “For Chitipa, we even donated to the council some 16 cartons of books. I can confirm that Chitipa is the only district without our service, which is very unfortunate.” n