On Thursday, December 20, 2012, the University of the Gambia received 20 boxes of books from an organisation known as Better Community Association. The presentation of the books, which are excellent books in the fields of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Medicine and Nursing, took place at UTG's main library in Brikama.
Ms. Joy Buchanan presented the books on behalf of her association, Better Community Association.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Yankuba Mamburay, the Senior University Relations Office of UTG. Mr. Mamburay opined that "books at to academics what meat is to a hungry lion - when they see books they 'devour' them." He said.
He then invited Mr. Momodou Lamin Tarro, the Register of the University who spoke on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Muhammadou M.O. Kah. In his remarks Mr. Tarro commended the donors for their wonderful gesture. On behalf of the Vice Chancellor he said words cannot express how delighted the entire university community feels about gestures of this kind. He promised that the books will be put to good use.
The next person to speak was Ms. Isatou Njie, the Chief Librarian of UTG. Isatou reiterated what Mr. Tarro said, echoing the fact that the books came to the right place where they can assure the donors that the books will be put to best use. She thanked the donors and said the books came at the right time.
On his part, Dr. Gomez, the Acting Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, express his delight and said he was the happiest man on campus today because most of the books received are core natural and physical science books, which happen to be areas under his school. He said students talk about the unavailability of some books but now they will have no cause to complain. Dr. Gomez further expressed his hope that Mr. Mamburay's department (University Relations Department) will work hard to nurture our relationship with Ms. Buchanan and her association to grow from strength to strength. He said, "the donor is visibly happy, so we the recipients should be happier.
Dr. Gomez also thanked Dr. Yves Lamour who did not only link Mr. Mamburay and Ms. Buchanan, but also helped pack and transport the books to UTG. Though Dr.Lamour did what is expected of him, he has gone over and above the call of duty by not only executing his duties as a teacher but he embarked on what people call community service.
Dr.Lamour said he did what he should do and believes any UTG lecturer would do the same when faced with the opportunity because we at the university are a team. He said he wished he could do more. He concluded that there is happiness in service and we can see that even the donor is happy today.
The final speaker at the presentation was Ms. Joy Buchanan, the representative from Better Community Association. She said all the books have been donated by Books for Africa. According to her, they got information that they could collect the books from USA given that they could take care of the shipping of the containers. However the freight was some $15, 000 and they did not have the money. Thank God, due to the timely intervention of another philanthropist organisation known as Margaret Rivers Fund (USA), which paid for the entire freight charges, they were able to have the books in the Gambia.
She thanked the Gambia Armed forces which helped to unload the container from the ports, Books for Africa, and Margaret Rivers Fund and many other individuals who made the possibility of getting 22,000 books on the shores of the Gambia. She said she came from an academic family (father is mathematician and mother an archaeologist and herself an author), she knows the importance of books. "Electronics cannot replace books because there is the tendency to lose such in five years but books endure time," she pointed out. She promised to be back in the Gambia in January to see if the books will be put to good use.
She donated a journal she wrote (La Pointe), in which she wrote a lot about the Gambia, to the University. In turn, UTG presented her and her association with a letter of appreciation.