The purpose of this study is to explore and investigate the phenomenon of rural community libraries (RCLs) in Sub-Saharan Africa through an in-depth study of one such library located in Uganda. Specifically, it sets out to investigate the role of the RCL in relation to student learning. This is done by a thorough account of what the library offers, who the users are and what they do at the library. To approach the question of student learning through the library, the study includes two models on libraries‘ influence on student learning developed for a Western context. The methodology covers both quantitative and qualitative methods to produce rich and varied data, but the main emphasis is on the latter. In addition to traditional data collection techniques, the study includes a kind of improvised action research that contributed to the range of data collected. The library in question is above average in terms of materials and use, and its existence seems to increase the amount of reading, particularly the number of storybooks read by pupils. The secondary students, who are the focus of this study, mainly read their own notes, schoolbooks (pamphlets, textbooks and past papers) and to some extent fiction. This group does read more due to the library, it seems, especially schoolbooks, but the library‘s contribution to their learning beyond mere reading, such as study skills, use of reference works and co-operation, is somewhat limited. There are five conditions that work against the library having a full potential impact on student learning: the curriculum, the exams and the traditional way of teaching; lack of reading culture; lack of library tradition; limited resources; and the problems related to the language of instruction. Despite these limitations, by bringing books to a print-poor environment the library does make a difference.