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Elizabeth Giles at Mumuni Library

Elizabeth Giles joins our Zambia team!

We are thrilled to welcome Elizabeth Giles to Zambia for a long-term assignment as our Training Librarian! Those meeting her as she settles in to her new home and community in Lusaka have been so impressed with the breadth of experience and expertise this newly-minted children's librarian brings. However, she is not new to Lubuto. Elizabeth worked in our DC office for two years and came to Zambia for two months last year to lead a research project establishing evidence-based collection development for Lubuto libraries. The Zambia staff is especially delighted that Elizabeth is back with them, and we are all certain that children's library services in Zambia and even regionally will make great strides in the coming years with her guidance.

Lubuto’s delegation at the 2015 IFLA conference

Jane, Elizabeth and Thomas attended the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) conference in Cape Town, South Africa in August. Jane and Elizabeth presented papers for sessions focusing on partnerships and best practices, respectively, for the Libraries for Children and Young Adults section of IFLA. These presentations helped illustrate two crucial components of the Lubuto model—constructing strong dynamic partnerships and curating appealing, holistic, responsive and child-centered collections. They were very enthusiastically received by international colleagues. Several children’s librarians from other regions of Africa contacted Lubuto following Elizabeth’s presentation to explore extending our research activities to other countries in Southern Africa.

At the start of the conference, Jane introduced Thomas and Elizabeth to IFLA´s 2013-2015 president—Sinikka Sipila—who has long been interested in Lubuto´s progress and accomplishments. All three were then able to speak with the incoming IFLA president—Donna Scheeder—who was very excited about Lubuto´s contributions to social inclusion in Zambia, as well as the government´s interest in having Lubuto libraries operating throughout Zambia. We will join forces with IFLA staff to promote libraries' contributions to achieving the United Nations post 2015 Sustainable Development goals.

We are very excited to collaborate with an Israeli educational technology company to pilot a program with electronic readers in Zambian languages. These devices attach to picture books and “read” recorded titles aloud to children. Lubuto immediately recognized that these instruments could allow us to record translations of the English-language titles in our collections to Zambian languages. The company that produces them has adapted them for us so that they accommodate readings of the same book in several languages, allowing the reader to switch from one language to another by pushing a button. Thomas presented this reader at the conference, demonstrating the device’s ability to switch between English, Bemba and Tonga and thus make English-language picture books more directly accessible to native speakers of those languages. Many colleagues expressed interest in this technology.

In addition to presenting our mission, programs and services at conference sessions, Lubuto hosted an off-site reception for all Zambian attendees at IFLA. Ten of our colleagues from various types of libraries in Zambia attended the event that was greatly appreciated and enjoyed all around. New friends and old had fruitful conversations about the future of library services in Zambia and we were happy to further strengthen ties among library professionals in the country.

Furthering Lubuto’s partnership with Zambia’s education ministry

Jane and Eleni introduced Elizabeth to officials from the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education on August 25th. The meeting focused on the Ministry´s obligations under our memorandum of understanding—and with our new Training Librarian in place, the Ministry and its Zambia Library Service will now focus on staffing Lubuto libraries. This staff development is essential for sustaining the libraries. Meanwhile, demonstrations of our recent innovations and our library catalog, details of our plans for supporting sales of books by the Zambia Educational Publishing House, and data on the heavy use and reach of the three existing Lubuto libraries, were acknowledged as great contributions to Zambia´s public library services to children and teens.

Thomas Mukonde’s graduate school fundraising campaign

We have reached our $10,060 goal to fund Thomas’ second and final year in the MLIS program at the University of Illinois! Thank you to everyone who has contributed for your very generous support! You are helping to cultivate the next generation of leaders in Zambia. Thomas’ passion and enthusiasm for working with children and youth is palpable, and through his Masters program he is developing a toolkit to effectively address the myriad needs of young people in Africa. After completing his program, he will return to Zambia to lead Lubuto’s efforts forward!

American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) grant for fourth Lubuto library

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