As a librarian, I was particularly tickled to hear about Peace Corps Volunteer Karri Stout’s endeavor to establish a library at a school in a small African village in Tanzania. Education and access to information are important developmental tools everywhere in the world.
Of course, this young lady wasn’t just thinking of a standard library, but a bilingual library that would serve students as well as adults living in the village of Utelewe. For the 2013 school year, the school has 342 students enrolled; a library serving this many children will improve literacy rates, and can have a far-reaching impact on their lives.
Reading is definitely one of the more popular leisure activities for Peace Corps Volunteers. What were some of the books you read during your service? Did you bring home any books from your country? How many times did you read War and Peace during your 27 months overseas?
“Currently, community members either have to rely on the limited materials at the local community center or have to venture outside of the town to access information, including newspapers. The new library will promote self-learning and literacy through access to books and computer programs, in addition to imparting management skills to the teachers and students that will run and maintain the library.”
- Peace Corps Volunter Claire McManus, who is working with her Dominican community to build its first library
Happy National Library Week! Here are some highlights from our Digital Library featuring library projects from Volunteers around the world. You can also help fund current projects through the Peace Corps Partnership program.
Bianca, an 11th grader, helps fifth graders sound out words in a Dr. Seuss book as part of a project aiming to promote English and reading. The books were donated by friends in the United States. The 5th graders loved the attention from high schoolers and the chance to show of their English skills. The high schoolers loved the break from the routine and the chance to present, on behalf of the American donors, the books. It also helped bond students from different schools.