DR Congo: National Library - MONUC contributes to preserve "the memory of the nation"

MONUC through its "Quick Impact Projects," supports the modernization of the National Library. The official handing over of materials as well as the details of completed work were welcomed by Library director Mr. George Mulumba in a ceremony in Kinshasa this Thursday 22 April 2009, which is also World Book Day.

In the presence of Minister for Culture Mr. Esdras Kambale and representatives of MONUC and UNESCO, the Director of the National library greeted this $14,880 dollar initiative financed by MONUC.

The project, which was developed between April 2008 and March 2009, includes the purchase of computers, material for the restoration of documents and the de-dusting of files, software for document management, and the training of 15 technicians.

Mr. Mulumba noted that it was not the first time that MONUC had supported culture in the country. He underlined in particular the library of Kananga, which was restored with the assistance of MONUC, and which is "an example for all the other libraries in the country."

He also stressed that the National Library "collective memory of the nation" faces serious difficulties because of a lack of resources.

As an example, the Democratic Republic of Congo currently devotes 1% of the budget of the nation to education, while Senegal grants almost 30% of its budget.

The Library, which was created in 1989, lodges some 70,000 volumes (the oldest goes back to 1827) and 75,000 historical photographs, as well as examples of newspapers and magazines from all over the country. The library employs a hundred people, of which 80 work in Kinshasa.

Mr. Mulumba advocated for the creation of public libraries and other libraries for young people in order to better prepare the youth for future economic challenges in the country.

The National Library with the National Congolese Press Union (UNPC), is already preparing a grand exposition for 2010, entitled "One half-century of independence," to celebrate 50 years of independence.