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Lubuto Library Opens!


The opening of the first Lubuto Library was greeted with glee by the children at the Fountain of Hope , street kids shelter in Lusaka, Zambia. Since the doors opened to them, children have been coming in droves and the smiles on their faces pretty much tell the whole story. Reading and listening to stories in groups and alone, sitting in the warm and welcoming space provided by their library, it is a pleasure to see them sharing pictures, practicing their reading skills, and delighting in the knowledge that this place is especially for them.

children reading in new Lubuto Library

The library’s 4,000 book collection ranges from picture books and early readers to fiction, science and reference books. Fountain of Hope staff are being trained to help the children learn abut the collection and how to use the library. The initial collection is being supplemented by books in Zambian languages, and new books, based on traditional Zambian stories, will be created a new Zambia Board on Books for Young People that is being established jointly by the Lubuto Project and the Zambia Library Association.

Opening Ceremony

Opening celebration demo

The opening celebration for the first Lubuto Library was held on September 21, 2007 at the Fountain of Hope , in Lusaka . Invited guests included His Excellency the First President of the Republic of Zambia , Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, members of the diplomatic corps, government officials and friends of the Lubuto Library Project. The guests and the more than 200 street kids in attendance enjoyed a reading of the book Caps for Sale by President Kaunda, which was simultaneously performed by the street kids Barefeet Theatre.

Following the ceremony, which also included a performance by storyteller Leonard Mpundu and speeches by President Kaunda and Lubuto Library Project President Jane Meyers, and letters of congratulations from U.S. First Lady Laura Bush andthe UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Elizabeth Mataka, the street kids were treated to a buffet meal, courtesy of the Holiday Inn, Lusaka.

Barefeet Girls Group performance

The highlight of the celebration was the library’s opening. A number of guests were more than pleasantly surprised to see what a library for orphans and vulnerable children could be. “This place is magic,” said one. Of course, the opinions that count the most were voiced by the children themselves.

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