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Learn from Mogadishu Book Fair and put up a library for Somalis

Guests browse through books on display on the opening day of the third annual Mogadishu Book Fair on 13 September 2017. UN Photo / Omar Abdisalan

The just concluded Mogadishu Book Fair marked another remarkable milestone in building and nurturing a reading and writing culture in Somalia negating stereotypes that Somalia is only an oral society.

Attracting both the young and the old, established and budding writers, the Book Fair did not only provide a platform for interaction of ideas but also inspired several others to start their first paragraph which hopefully will turn into a book for next year’s Book Fair.

For the government, this Book Fair must be a challenge to you. Somalis need public spaces to read and engross themselves in books they only see in Book Fairs. There were plans to put up a new public library a while back but it seems that grand idea was shelved. It is time to revisit it now. A public-private partnership could go a long way.

The Federal Government must without fail invest in public libraries and also make it a priority item in all the regional administrations for this is the surest investment into the future of both the young and the old of this country.