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• Qualitative study conducted at the Kitengesa Community Library in rural Uganda.
• Themes related to secondary school students' library use in a rural Ugandan village is presented via content analysis.
• Findings suggest students' experience is bounded by academic, personal, cultural and socioeconomic factors.
• The theoretical model includes a thematic construct and theoretical narrative that illustrate the findings.
The Kitengesa Community Library in rural Uganda is unique in that provides tailored collections and services for the community. This library, which was built in 2002, serves a small but diverse population including a large number of secondary school students who live in the area. Previous research on the impact of this library on the surrounding community revealed that the library influences reading habits, reading culture development, and the availability of locally relevant information. This is especially true for young adults, who represent Uganda's fastest growing population. Only 18 percent of girls and 20 percent of boys are enrolled in secondary school, rendering this group of students (ages 13–17) particularly vulnerable to a wide range of social and economic challenges. School libraries in Uganda are rare, and in this case, the Kitengesa Community Library serves as a de facto school library. Previous research by Dent and Yannotta (2005) revealed that secondary school students are among the heaviest users of the Kitengesa Community Library, and this qualitative study represents an attempt to characterize students' library use experiences across academic, social, and cultural domains. Findings suggest that the student experience consists of five factors – personal improvement, reading culture development, academic support, learning independence, and reducing isolation. There is a growing network of rural village libraries in Africa and the findings from this study will be used to inform development of additional library services and resources to better support student learning and interpersonal growth.
Journal: The International Information & Library Review - Volume 45, Issues 1–2, September 2013, Pages 37–49