Kamanjab-Karin van Dyk, the assistant librarian at Okamaru community library, says children at the village struggle with literacy while others who visit the library do not know the alphabet.
“Most of the children cannot read and I have to teach them at times but they do not even understand English or Afrikaans, so it’s difficult,” says Van Dyk who has worked at the library since May 2011.
The Okamaru community library receives about 20 visitors monthly and about 10 children, and although young visitors love books most of them have difficulties with reading.
The community library was opened in October 2003 and falls under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.
The library has a collection of non-fiction and fiction books for both adults and children, which number about 2,500 books.
Van Dyk said that since last year she stopped handing out books as most of them are never returned after they are borrowed.
“Since last year I stopped letting the public take out books from the library. They must come here and use them or make copies,” Van Dyk said.
Although printing at the library is generally not for public use the community is allowed to use the photocopying machine. The library is situated in the community hall and is open to the public from 08h00 until 17h00.
Since January 2016 the library has not been able to source new magazines or newspapers due to budget cuts, according to Van Dyk, who added: “No money is available.”
She pleaded with good Samaritans to come on board and donate ink cartridges and books.
The library is struggling with electricity and the assistant librarian and cleaner buy electricity with the revenue generated when people pay for using the photocopying machine, for which they are charged N$1 per copy.