Lubuto Poem

Lubuto Collection Research

Lubuto Library collections provide users with a wide range of knowledge and concepts through informational books and an appreciation of human themes through fiction. Our collection development model is important for other libraries in Africa due to the heavy dependence on book donation programs. These programs have lead stakeholders and even librarians to think of book collections in terms of quantities of books, rather than a collection being a unified and balanced unit. Prof. Genevieve Hart of the University of the Western Cape’s LIS Department, and member of Lubuto’s Collection and Programs Advisory Council, has noted that many African libraries “receive” whole collections from benefactors, leaving little room for collection building on the ground. Yet, she says, “developing dynamic collections that respond to the interests and needs of a library’s community is one of the core tenets of librarianship.”

With funding from the U.K. foundation Comic Relief through the Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa, we are currently carrying out research on our library collections that will empower Lubuto Library staff to actively manage library collections to make them responsive to changing community needs. The research team is evaluating how the collection is used and perceived through interviews with library visitors, providing much needed insight into changes that are needed in Lubuto Library collections as our organization expands. The research project will also better define a core collection for African children and youth that can guide collection development throughout the continent and strengthen the case for increased investment in the quality and impact of youth library services.

Elizabeth Giles looks at our library users

The Principal Investigator for the collection research project is Elizabeth Giles, a current Master of Library and Information Science student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a former Program Associate at Lubuto. She hit the ground running at the end of June, already familiar with much of our staff and our libraries through her work with us in Washington. The research team also includes Lisa Scudera, Library Director and Department Chair of the Ramaz Upper School in New York, and Professor Hart, who is providing research and methodological guidance from South Africa. Elizabeth has made some apt observations on how children in the libraries interact with the collection. Please take a moment to read her recent blog post on how reading at Lubuto Libraries is a much more social activity than it was at her local public library in North America. Lubuto Advisory Board member Prof. Peter Lor noted that it “raises interesting questions on how we deal with different cultural groups in the more conventional western-style public libraries. It's also a good corrective to the myth that Africans don't read.”

Indiegogo campaign results

Last week we concluded our Indiegogo campaign, “A Leader for African Libraries.” A tremendous number of supporters and friends of Lubuto came together to raise $6,280 to help Thomas thrive at the University of Illinois this year. While we fell short of our goal, we are astounded by the outpouring of support from groups like the Special Libraries Association, the US Board on Books for Young People, and friends at Georgetown and Drexel Universities, all who worked to mobilize donors to give to our campaign. Lubuto will be making up the difference in the cost for Thomas to attend his Masters program from our general revenues, so we are grateful for all contributions that allow us to focus our unrestricted resources on our work in Zambia. And though the campaign is over, donations earmarked for Thomas’ graduate education are still most welcome.

In Memoriam: Maurice Chimfwembe Lundu

We mourn the recent passing of our old friend and colleague Prof. Maurice Lundu. Jane first met Maurice at a conference in Botswana in 1986 and was inspired by his dedication to an African approach to librarianship. He joined us in Cape Town in 2004 as we formed Lubuto and he embraced our vision for Zambia’s children to the end.

OSISA Expands Lubuto Funding with Comic Relief

Lubuto Wins USAID Contest for Innovative Literacy Solutions

All Children Reading

We are thrilled to announce that a Lubuto innovation is among 32 winners of an All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development grant, made possible through the generous support of the All Children Reading Founding Partners: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Agency for International Development. The competition to create innovative solutions to improve early grade reading in the developing world elicited more than 450 submissions from more than 75 countries. Lubuto's winning proposal, "LubutoLiteracy: Zambian teaching and learning materials for the digital age," is funded by World Vision.Please see our press release for more details on this exciting project.

The Lubuto Library Project team joined other winners to showcase their innovation at a DevelopmentXChange session on September 7, 2013 at USAID headquarters and uniquely highlighted the role that libraries play as "technology incubators."

Lubuto was also an invited participant and panelist at a Global Reading Materials Depository Ideation Meeting sponsored by USAID and co-hosted by All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development and the U.S. Library of Congress on March 17-18, 2014. The meeting was organized to explore the need for, the possible development of, and next steps toward the creation of a digital collection(s) of early grade reading materials. The primary objective of such a repository of early grade reading materials would be to improve access, particularly to local language reading materials, for early grade school children in developing countries.

The Lubuto Library Project

Lubuto is a word in the Bemba language, spoken in central Africa, that signifies knowledge, enlightenment and light.

The Lubuto project creates high quality, open-access libraries to serve Africa's street kids and other vulnerable children and youth. The library provides a safe haven and an opening to the world beyond the bleak streets. Lubuto offers educational services and the simple pleasure of books and the arts for children who find themselves alone in the world. Giving the burgeoning numbers of street children the chances they deserve to develop their imaginations and to realize their potential is Lubuto’s challenge.

photo of new library

Lubuto’s highly professional organization, in the US and Zambia, does not work as an isolated charity. The sustainability of its program is ensured through partnership with government, community-based organizations, and professional groups, and Lubuto libraries are owned and run by Zambians.

Read more about Lubuto Libraries.

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