15 September 2018

Ethiopia: Tourism Bureau to Switch New Library Location

The construction is estimated to cost the city 200 million Br

The Addis Ababa City Administration Culture & Tourism Bureau is pondering switching the location of its planned central library from the current location in Yeka District to a new location in Arada District.

The construction of the library, estimated to cost 200 million Br, was expected to commence this fiscal year on a plot that the Bureau secured on the premise of Dejazmach Wendrad School in Yeka District, off Asmara Road. The Bureau was in the final stages of announcing a tender for the construction when it reconsidered the project.

The Bureau is revising the initial plan with the aim of moving the central library to Arada, in front of Hager Fikir Theatre on John Melly Street. The area has been cleared by the city administration after relocating the residents in the area.

Last month, the Bureau received Nebiyu Baye, a renowned artist and a lecturer at Addis Abeba University, as its new leader, replacing Gebretsadik Hagos. Nebiyu moved from Ethiopian National Theater, where he was assigned recently by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD).

The Bureau is revising its plan as the former location is deemed inconvenient, according to Seyum Temesgen, deputy head of the Bureau, which has a mandate to administer libraries, archives and museums under the purview of the city government.

"The library should be accessible to children and people with disabilities," Seyum told Fortune. "Thus, choosing core areas of the capital is a must to create convenience for library users."

Currently, the city tourism bureau is responsible for promoting the establishment of libraries, archives and museums and cultural institutions through public participation, not to mention administration of the central library located behind Yekatit Hospital in Sidist Kilo. It also administers other libraries working under each wereda administration.

"The issue still is not yet settled," Seyum said. "Though we do have budget constraints, the Bureau will endeavour to open up spaces for the society to read and to share experiences."

The city's literacy rate reached over 90pc, leading the nation, according to a World Bank Review. Addis has 81 libraries for its population of approximately four million.

"We should work hard to increase the number of libraries in the city with a variety of facilities that can serve a spectrum of clients from children to the elderly," Seyum said. "Furthermore, the bureau will work on establishing libraries in every district's new buildings."

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