Lubuto Library Project Newsletter -- April 2014

Lubuto's newest staff member, "Lubuto Week" in Boston, focus groups, and the fourth library
Lubuto Library Project
Newsletter #43 - April 2014
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Lubuto Library Project

This month Lubuto welcomes our newest staff member, Imanga Kayama!

Imanga joins our Zambia staff this month as our Program Manager. She is an alumna of St Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she studied Political Science. Before coming to work with Lubuto, Imanga was a writer at the blog TechTrendsZambia, and a Policy Analyst at the Lusaka think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue. In her new capacity, she will be reporting on our major grants, contributing to our communications and social media, and overseeing activities at the Lubuto Libraries. Imanga tells us, "I am excited to be working at Lubuto because the opportunity gives me the chance to be involved in things that I am passionate about. I love children, books, technology and helping people, therefore, I feel that I will be very happy as part of the Lubuto Library Project." We know her experience and skills in writing, analysis and collaboration will make her a great addition to the Lubuto team – and we’re sure you will enjoy her enthusiastic voice through our social media in the future!

Lubuto in Boston

Lubuto founder and President Jane Meyers traveled to Boston this month, where she had been invited to address the annual meeting of Simmons College i-School’s Phi Beta Mu chapter. The event was co-sponsored by the Special Libraries Association of New England, and the audience of nearly 100 of the library profession’s finest was inspired by what Lubuto Libraries are doing for children and libraries in Zambia. This was evidenced by the lineup of enthusiastic new volunteers at the end of Jane’s talk whose support we most welcome. A smaller, but equally-engaged, group gathered to hear about Lubuto the next day at d-Lab, MIT’s network of innovators who design and disseminate technologies that meaningfully improve the lives of people living in poverty. We were encouraged to see the level of understanding and appreciation for the role professionally-designed public libraries can play in addressing critical development issues in Africa expressed by those in the d-Lab audience, and a potential new partnership for taking the Lubuto model to Ghana was also born there! We are especially grateful to Karen Vagts, of Tufts University’s Tisch Library, and our long-time friend, supporter and Advisory Board member, Marilyn Hollinshead, for making "Lubuto Week" in Boston possible.

Why do you come to the Library?

This was one of many questions asked during our most recent focus groups with Lubuto Library visitors. Two focus group discussions were held in ary: 16 boys and girls at Ngwerere Lubuto Library, and 12 boys and girls at Fountain of Hope Lubuto Library. They confirmed that children come to the libraries for all different reasons, and enjoy a huge variety of activities while they are there. 61% reported coming for reading and storytime sessions, 36% for programs, like LubutoDrama, LubutoMentoring or LubutoLiteracy, and 22% said they come to libraries to gain knowledge. What knowledge? One boy said he comes to learn new languages from a book called World Languages while others learn from favorite books – biographies of Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali were mentioned as favorites, along with atlases and dictionaries. Additionally, many children reported being nervous before their first visit, believing the library was for adults only. So, since 32% of the children learned about the library through their friends, we will focus on friend-to-friend outreach in the future!

Plans for the fourth library begin!

Lubuto is excited to announce the host of the fourth Lubuto Library: Mthunzi Centre! Jane Meyers first visited Mthunzi in 2007 to discuss a possible partnership, and now we are finally moving forward with the plans. Mthunzi Centre is an impressive community-based organization, established in 2002, and located on the outskirts of Lusaka. Mthunzi works in partnership with various stakeholders to provide local youth with shelter, food, education, vocational training, sports and recreation, health services and counseling, and outreach. Mthunzi also provides care and protection and education to orphaned and vulnerable children living at the Centre. It is clear that their values are closely aligned with ours and that they take strong ownership of a new Lubuto Library for the youth in the surrounding area. Be sure to watch this space for future information on our partnership and upcoming construction!

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As a Sustaining Supporter, you will receive an email with each donation to keep you informed of Lubuto's latest developments, of which you are a key supporter. And as you know, this support gives thousands of children, who may otherwise never see the pages of a book, the opportunity to learn, communicate and grow in beautiful, safe and welcoming libraries, making a real and lasting difference in their lives. A modest donation charged to your credit card each month or quarter helps Lubuto tremendously.

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Volunteer of the Month  
Volunteer of the Month
Our April Volunteer of the Month is Mailess Phiri. Mailess is a student with the Zambia scholarship program
Kucetekela Foundation.

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Learn more about our work by watching the Q&A video.

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