HARARE – Seventeen readers in the Zimbabwe Chapter of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, CLSC, a very old and distinguished book club in America, graduated in Harare last Friday.
Founded in 1878, the CLSC is the oldest continuous book club in America and has remained a leader in adult education through quality programming. It has introduced learning by correspondence and has enrolled over a half-million readers.
The 17 readers graduated at the US Ambassador’s residence in Harare.
Ambassador Bruce Wharton said, “The value of book clubs is that they promote open dialogue and self-examination.”
The graduating group had read 12 books from the CLSC list and discussed them over a one year period.
Barbara Ford a distinguished librarian and director for International Library Programmes, who was the guest of honour, outlined the importance of book reading for pleasure and educational means.
“Libraries welcome everyone despite age, race and ethnic background, those with disabilities and also people across religion, political orientatins and different languages,” said Ford.
She said the advent of the Internet has brought libraries closer to people.
Edwin Madziwo, the Mashonaland advocacy officer of an association of librarians, said Zimbabweans often read for educational purposes and not for leisure.
“There is need to enhance the public’s reading culture through creating book clubs in communities. People can read and gather later to discuss the book and this can foster community oneness.”
Grace Mtandwa, a veteran journalist, said she loved reading for pleasure and singled out outstanding local authors such as Chenjerai Hove, Charles Mungoshi and Chirikure Chirikure.
“It is not true that Zimbabwe does not have a reading culture, we read interesting and pleasurable book,” she said.
“I cant read certain books because they are boring. I am planning to read a book in vernecular by Ignatius Mabasa called Uri mbwa yemunhu because I like the way he writes.”