Mzuzu University (Mzuni) has received library furniture and books valued at K120 million (about $190 000) from Scotland’s Strathclyde University to set up an interim library at the institution.
The donation comes when Mzuni has also received about 4 000 books worth K200 million (about $315 000) from various organisations since December last year when its library was burnt down.728
Speaking after receiving the donation on Thursday, Mzuni vice-chancellor Robert Ridley said the institution needs support to construct a permanent library.
He said: “It’s a substantive assistance. However, we still need support to have a hall and a permanent library that can take up to 1 000 students. As it is, we don’t have a hall for classes, large meetings and entertainment events. We are forced to hire a hall at St Augustine Parish.”
Strathclyde University has donated all its furniture and books from its idle library.
The materials were shipped into the country and a fraction of the books will be donated to the Polytechnic in Blantyre, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unima).
A representative of Strathclyde University, Norman Wagstaffe, said the institution made the donation after deciding to make available something that is “bold, innovative and imaginative”.
He said: “To send a library in a box is something that is bold, innovative and imaginative.”
Wagstaffe also said the donation cements the relationship between Strathclyde and the country’s universities and colleges dating back to 1990.
Mzuni Trust Fund manager Mbachazwa Lungu said the donation is the biggest so far and described it as “a big boost for us in our effort of rebuilding the library”.
Mzuni needs K600 million (about $940 000) to refurbish an interim library and stock it with books, computers and furniture. But for a new library, the university needs K3 billion (about $4.9million).
Mzuni is one of the country’s four functional public universities. The others are Unima, the oldest established in 1965, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) and the newest Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must).