Mbabane Library Association
Book Exchange
Supporting Literacy in Swaziland

The Mbabane Library Association is a small non-profit library which has been operating since 1927, in Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland. The library is a non-profit organisation, run on an entirely voluntary basis.

We are currently running a program to broaden our readership and make books more available to disadvantaged readers. One factor which might be preventing people from becoming library members is the membership fee of E300 per year (approx 45$ Canadian), so it was decided to try to set aside one part of the library as a Book Exchange, with no membership fees required.

The objective is to offer a broad range of books, including both fiction and non-fiction as well as children’s books.

In January 2008, we opened the Book Exchange section of the library, stocked entirely from donated books. The exchange started with over 500 titles which can be swapped for E2.00 per book (approx 30c Canadian). Thanks to generous donations of books by La Booktique and La Porte Ouverte in Quebec, Canada, and financial contributions from a number of individuals, we have been able to get a shipment of books from Canada to Swaziland each year from 2008 to 2012. The Book Exchange now has over 3000 books in stock.

After three years, the concept of exchanging books had become established and the Book Exchange developed a regular clientele, who eagerly await each new shipment of books.

In 2010, we were in a position to donate 100 books to the Mbabane Government Hospital for hospital patients, and in 2011, we were able to provide a number of books to two different local schools at very low cost (the funds being put towards shipping costs for more books).

Since then, we have been able to pass on our old stock to schools who have approached us for books, providing them with 100 to 200 books at a time.

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