Makerere Bookshop Relocates to Nkrumah Road

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Information from Makerere University shows that the old book shop space is now home to the Julius Nyerere Leadership Center JNLC, which is meant to serve as a cross - generation platform.
A wooden structure that formerly housed the Makerere University Bookshop will now become a Julius Nyerere Leadership Center –JNLC as launched by the president today.

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The renowned Makerere University Bookshop has relocated to Nkrumah road in Kampala, Uganda Radio Network has learnt. 

The journey for the disappearance of Makerere University Bookshop started in 2016 when the 86-year-old building that previously hosted it was demolished to pave way for the construction of the new central teaching facility. The demolished building was located next to the School of Social Sciences.

At the time of the demolition of the building, Makerere University Secretary, Charles Barugahare told URN that university required the services offered by the bookshop and guild canteen that was equally affected, saying they had earmarked alternative areas to host them.

Indeed, the guild canteen was absorbed by the Senior Staff Club popularly known as the staff canteen while the bookshop was moved to a wooden structure that used to serve as part of the Journalism and Communication department located between Makerere Senate building and the College of Computing and Information Sciences - CoCIS. 

However, URN understands that ever since the new academic year began in August this year, the university bookshop has never opened. 

Our reporter called the mobile number provided on the doors of the former Bookshop premises and the lady who received the call said that they had since relocated to Nkrumah road in Kampala.

Information from Makerere University shows that the old book shop space is now home to the Julius Nyerere Leadership Center – JNLC, which is meant to serve as a cross - generation platform.

President Yoweri Museveni floated the idea for this center in August 2017 at the Nelson Mandela commemorative lecture that highlighted the need to create such a platform "ekyoto" to tap into experiences of African Leaders in different fields and in different national contexts.

Ritah Namisango, the Makerere university senior publicist, says the center is aimed at setting up a lasting legacy for Mwalimu Julius Nyerere with the view of involving the people to spur development.

"Through innovative policy research and analysis, youth training and mentoring and periodic debates, the Centre is meant to provide a platform for experiential learning and leadership development by distinguished Africans, private sector actors, intellectuals, scholars, and other accomplished African men and women to share, nurture, mentor, challenge and account to the next generation of African leaders," Namisango said. 

What next for the Bookshop

World over, booksellers with close links to universities play an essential role in supporting the academic activity of students and research work of staff as well as the cultural life of the university.

Quoting "The Academic Book of the Future" by Samantha Rayner (2016), Craig Dadds indicated that the University bookshop was key to the cultural life of the University, Student and staff. 

Dadds indicates that bookshop act as an important symbol of "academic rigor and learning" aiding not just in academic books dissemination but assisting in their creation and reach to the wider world beyond academia.

"An academic bookshop acts as a bridge between academia and the wider public, with open talks, book signings and other events, a pivotal location for locating niche and specialist information with the support of knowledgeable staff,” he said.

Francis Moses Mwaisaka, an instructor at St. Augustine University in Tanzania, says he travelled from Tanzania on recommendation that the book he was looking for would be found at Makerere University Bookshop.

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Richard Obonyo, a masters' student at CoCIS, said failure to have a bookshop at Makerere university is an indicator of poor planning by the administrators.

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Mathew Tenywa, a student of industrial art, says it is unfortunate that students has lost out on the bookshop, which was in addition to the available library was a resource for various resources.

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The Makerere University Bookshop has been an additional facility where students, staff and members of the public would visit and procure books.

It has been supplementing the six university libraries and book banks, collection of essential textbooks available each academic department where students would be loaned books and are returned at the end of the course.