As its facilities expanded in the late 1980s, the Children’s Centre began seeking ways to extend its services beyond the university community by reaching out to schools in the vicinity. This began in 1988 with a reading promotion project in six public primary schools around Nsukka. Students of the Department of Library Science conducted story hours and book sharing sessions, while the Children’s Centre Library provided resources and transport. This activity has continued over the years, with the bus also bringing groups of school children on library visits.
Information literacy is a special interest, leading to efforts to develop learning and information skills using local community resources as well as conventional library materials. Typical topics have included birds, occupations, transportation, markets, marriage ceremonies and gender discrimination. Later efforts by Onyebuchi focused on creating a library period curriculum for developing library and information literacy skills, combining story hour activities and project work with topics in the social studies modules. (See Publications for articles based on these.)
In 2004 the Children’s Centre joined People United for Libraries in Africa (PULA) in a cooperative project to develop school libraries in the Nsukka area. Initially, six schools that had developed library accommodation and shown a high level of library awareness were given small collections of books. The project later expanded to include all interested schools in the area.
Training teachers to organize and use school libraries is another concern. A series of workshops on organizing libraries, literacy promotion activities and information literacy through project work have taken place in Children’s Centre Library. In addition, members of the team have gone to schools to share information on using libraries to enhance education with classroom teachers.
In 2012-2013, 23 schools entered a Best School Library Competition organized by CCL. Each library was assessed three times on the basis of accommodation, collection, personnel, and use of the library; schools also submitted independent project work for evaluation. Best older school libraries were Community Primary School II, Nru; Agu Achara II; Agu Achara I; and Community Primary School I, Nru; while the best new school libraries were C.P.S. Amogbo and Urban Primary School.
World Book Day 2017 was celebrated by taking storytelling and shared reading experiences to local schools and briefing others on organizing varied activities for developing literacy skills in their schools. Among schools visited for the first time was the Centre for Academic and Vocational Training of Special Needs Children (CAVTSN) in Nsukka.