The Nkhanga Library Story

Brief History of the Construction of Nkhanga Library

Dr. Mwizenge Tembo of  Zibalwe Village a few kilometers from here was the first person to come up with the idea of building the library. He has been a lecturer or Professor at Bridgewater College in Virginia in the United States of America for the last 22 years. He was visiting his village in June 2006 when at 2 hours or 2:00a min the morning he went outside to use the toilet. He saw a candle light in his nephew Gasione Banda’s hut. The following morning he asked his nephew who was in grade 9 what he was doing at 2:00 hours. His nephew said he was reading his class notes from the teachers instead of reading a book. The nephew Gasione said there were no books anywhere. Dr. Tembo came up with the idea of building a library for the benefit of the community and talked to his younger brother Mr. Vincent Tembo about it. He asked his brother to organize people at Zibalwe and  in the villages. They held community meetings.
Headman Limba-Limba gave Dr. Tembo and Mr. Vincent Tembo the land on which to build the  Nkhanga library.
It was in August the same year 2006 that Dr. Mwizenge Tembo went back to the United States of America. He told the Bridgewater College community and his American wife Beth Zerweck-Tembo’s family about the library to be constructed at Nkhanga which has Nkhanga Basic  school,  a clinic, shops, and two churches.


Unloading books from the US into the library.

The Americans accepted and were excited about the idea of the project. Mrs. Susan Zerweck, Dr. Tembo’s late mother-in-law made the first donation of K50 million ($10,000.00), Mrs. Sara Shorin, Dr. Tembo’s sister-in-law later donated K125 million ($25,000.00), all the students at Bridgewater College conducted a fundraiser and donated K22.9 million ($4,500.00), and Professor Larry Taylor of Bridgewater College and the Luray United Methodist Church donated K6,240,000.00 ($1200.00). Dozens of individuals and organizations in the United States including small children donated smaller amounts of money toward the library project. Honorable Chifumbu Bamba, Member of Parliament for Nkhanga region made a donation of K400,000.00.

From 2006 to 2012 when the construction of the library was completed, a total of K280 million ($56,000.00) was donated all directly in Dr. Mwizenge S. Tembo’s name because the people trusted he would use the money properly and honestly.

Many private bricklayers and roofers did the construction of the building. Hundreds of bags of cement were used to build the library including over 50 young men did the molding and kilning of over 125,000 bricks. Several tons of crushed stones were hauled from the hills for the foundation.

Library Rooms

There is an unfurnished guest room with the door at the back of the library that can accommodate up to 6 guests of the library overnight or for a few days. We need donations for 6 single beds, mattresses, bed sheets, blankets, and mosquito nets. Zambian and International volunteers, and other visitor of the library could stay here for a few nights and use their boarding fees as donations toward the operation of the library.

Library shelves

Library shelves

The library has a kitchen room where food is stored and cooked and refreshments are prepared for library volunteers, workers,  guests, seminar and workshop participants, club members, and any groups that will discuss books they have read from the library.
There is the seminar room where different community educational meetings and activities can be held by various groups. Women’s groups, clubs, seminars, workshops, poetry readings, and book discussion groups can meet in the room. The use of the room has to be properly reserved with the library administrative assistant. Some groups may be asked to make donations towards the operation of the library in exchange for use of the room.

There is an administrative office of the library. It may sometimes be used to sort out and catalog new books that have just been received. These positions will also depend on volunteers as the library does not have funding to pay any full time employees. Next to the entrance to the library his is the library foyer. This room will have frames of photos and maps on the wall. It  also have a notice board for any important news clippings of the Nkhanga Library.

The Library Books

Cataloging books in the library.

Cataloging books in the library.

The library has a total of 3,798 books. The first consignment of 700 books came in May 2007 and the last consignment of 3,098 came in December 2011. The cataloging officer of the library books was Ms. Agnes Manda who had ten local Grade 12 assistants. The simplest alphabetical order by author’s last name was used for cataloging the books in each section of classification. The most sophisticated numerical cataloging like the ones at University of Zambia Library in Lusaka or Library of Congress in the United States was not used. This would have been so difficult to do that Ms. Manda would have done it alone and it would have taken perhaps over a year to catalog the books. The library did not have the necessary resources. The types of books are general titles. The books reading levels cover the ages from 5 years preschool up to the level of grade 12 and diploma and degree holders.


Books now stock the shelves in the new library.

Books now stock the shelves in the new library.



About the Author

The author obtained his B.A in Sociology and Psychology at University of Zambia in 1976, M.A , Ph. D. at Michigan State University in Sociology in 1987. He was a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies of the University of Zambia from 1977 to 1990.