Mobile libraries has been in existence since the early nineteenth century. It has advanced from camels to boats, bicycles and vehicle trunks.
iRead Mobile Library
Today, the first ever mobile library exists in Nigeria, launched by Funmi Ilori. Established in 2013, it was a step she had decided to take in 2003, when she attended the Daystar Leadership Academy. Although her dream was to create the biggest library in Africa, she decided to start her dream project with whatever she had learnt at the Leadership Academy.
iRead Mobile Library model is designed to provide essential reading materials to children at communities across Africa.
The library serves children with Lagos communities, urban slums and rural communities in south west Nigeria. The aim of the library is to help children attain educational excellence, develop and improve their skills, and make available information for educational, social, personal, and national development.
Being the first mobile library for children in Nigeria, iRead has a social model of transforming lives by providing literacy, numeracy and digital skills. They also have an objective to enhance reading culture among Nigerian children.
Funmi believes that although this is a digital age where people can have books in their mobile devices in split seconds, the mobile library service is indispensable, especially for children who do not have access to these materials, either physically or digitally. Hence, going door to door is a good way to give these children a chance at literacy.
Changing lives a step at a time
iRead mobile library visits the children in their schools and communities once a week and each child gets a library review book where they record their weekly book reviews (review of books they read weekly), including new words learnt. The result of this is that, the children are evidently becoming avid readers. The library consists of books in the fiction and non-fiction (cookery, gardening, sports) categories.
Apart from reading and reviewing books, staffs and volunteers are brought up to discuss themes relating to financial intelligence, etiquettes, leadership, climate change issues, etc.
The mobile library, in less than 5 years, already “serves 21 schools, 19 neighbourhoods, and 1 special needs facility”, carrying “between 1,500 to 2,000 books per time”. In addition, the library has gotten grants from United States African Development Foundation (USADF).