Lubuto Library Partners Newsletter -- April 2016
Lubuto Library Partners
Newsletter #64 - April 2016
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Lubuto Library Partners

Mumuni’s wide magnetic draw
Since its opening in November of 2014, the Mumuni Library has challenged and expanded our conception of what a Lubuto library means to a rural community. The Nabukuyu community is radically different than Lusaka, and we have continually aimed to re-shape collections, programs, and library services to address the particular needs, interests, and priorities of this community.

We have learned the importance of close collaboration with parents, caregivers, and traditional leaders in order to mobilize community support for the library. In Nabukuyu the idea of a free public service is relatively unknown, and initially the library was approached with skepticism by some parents who feared the influence of witchcraft. “Nothing good can be gotten for free,” we were told, and it has taken concerted effort by the library staff to draw in parents, caregivers, and traditional leaders through events like our Community Open House and Library Day for Traditional Leaders. Library staff note the strong positive impact that these events have had on community perception and use of the library, leading to increasing numbers of out-of-school children visiting the library.

Staff have also worked to draw in new children through targeted outreach conducted in nearby villages. In Nabukuyu, like in Lusaka, many out-of-school children are kept home in order to do chores or care for siblings. Unlike in Lusaka, the primary economic activity is agriculture. During the rainy season it is common for even school-going children to be kept home in order to graze cattle on the floodplains, so the library staff have brought their outreach to the floodplains. There they find small groups of children (surrounded by large herds of cattle!) that are eager to have the opportunity to read, play, and use technology with our staff.

The Mumuni library has also developed a robust partnership with Holy Family Child Development Center, a Monze-based organization that serves children with disabilities and their families. Ndala, the Mumuni library manager, travels by vehicle with the Holy Family team to conduct joint outreach in farther-flung villages. Ndala brings books to share during these outreach sessions, but has also found that drama, oral storytelling, and puppets are highly effective ways of sharing stories with children who have severe disabilities. Children from Holy Family’s center in Monze visit the library monthly in a bus, and have had an art exhibition at the library.

The strong focus on outreach at the Mumuni library has inspired an incredible response from children in the communities surrounding the library—and in more remote locations. When Ndala first met with a teacher from a school more than ten miles away from the library, he had little hope that its pupils would be able to visit Mumuni. Still, he showed the teacher the LubutoLiteracy lessons and told him about the other activities at the library. The teacher went back to his school and told his students that there were computer-based literacy lessons in Tonga (the main language of the area) available for free at the library. That weekend a group of about 20 students between the ages of 11 and 18 organized themselves to walk to the library—a journey of several hours. These children so enjoyed using the literacy lessons and the collection that they have continued to walk to the library together monthly, a reality that has shocked and humbled our library staff.

In response to these children (and others) who travel long distances to come to the library, we have decided to revise our policy of in-house use for our collection at Mumuni. Staff note that in the 1+ year that the library has been open only one book was ever stolen—a fact that they explain in reference to a very traditional local culture and a close-knit local community. We plan to start allowing items to be checked out from the Mumuni library within the next few months, which will radically increase the amount of time that children in the community can spend with books. We imagine children reading while they graze cattle on the plains, teenagers carrying books the ten miles back to their villages and sharing them with friends and younger siblings who can’t manage the long distance, and families sharing books together in their homes—most for the first time.


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Seeking a Development Director
We are now recruiting an experienced Director of Development for our DC office. A successful candidate will have a solid background in grant writing and must be familiar with USAID and other internationally-focused funding organizations. Click here for more details.


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Volunteer of the Month
Volunteer of the Month

Our April Volunteer of the Month is Karina Veras, who cataloged hundreds of books for collections needing updating in Zambia and worked on Lubuto’s donor management system.
Learn More

 
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Copyright © 2016 Lubuto Library Partners, Inc.

The Lubuto Library Project is exempt from U.S. Federal income tax as a public charity
under Section 501(C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
 




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Lubuto Library Partners
5614 Connecticut Ave. NW, #368
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