Sunday, May 1, 2011

Growing a community library

This young girl is reading in the community library I visited this past week.  See below for more pictures of the library.
More users of the library and the librarian.

And these women and the child are potential library users

This past week I visited a library started by one of my students and friends of his.  Mr. Chabamba works for the Police Academy but is on leave for two years to attend the University studying library and information studies.  He was introduced to libraries by a high school teacher and is passionate about helping young Zambians have a library in which to study and learn, especially the children growing up in the compounds, the poorest neighborhoods of Lusaka.

Using his own resources he and his friends built an extension to a building that houses 4 families.  Every surface of the small room is covered with posters that encourage kids to study, provide information on various subjects except for the one wall of bookshelves.  The books are mostly donated textbooks from the U.S. or BookAid International. When ask how useful the books are, the 6 high school boys studying shrugged their shoulders and said sometimes they consult the books when they can't understand what their teacher has told them but since the textbooks don't follow their curriculum its difficult to use them. These six students all want to go to university to study medicine, accounting, economics and business.

This was my second visit to the library. Those using the library on this visit were young women, girls and two middle school boys, again studying during the school holiday break so that they will do well on the upcoming exams.  Such determination!  Besides taking photos I brought books for young children and read with the youngest girls and one small small boy.  The books are those donated by Heidi Hammond, a colleague at St. Kate's.  Heidi was on last year's Caldecott Award Committee and has many many picture books she is generously sharing with libraries, children, lovers of picture books around the world.  There are three schools, two libraries and numerous women with new babies sharing in Heidi's generosity - posting books to foreign countries is not a negligble expense!  Thanks, thanks, Heidi.


The library's services

Community Library in Chawamba
Mr. Chabamba, Librarian

(So, I learned another new thing about blogspot: if you draft an entry and don't post it sometimes gets posted to an earlier date.  Check out the February entries for the Tidbits 2 that was really written a week ago!)