Lubuto Libraries have unique outreach programs that the staffs at Ngwerere and Fountain of Hope libraries have developed—one that completely engages all youth, and reaches kids who would never imagine going to a library. Outreach activities generally consist of a combination of story readings, educational games, children’s rights discussions, mentoring, and singing and dancing exercises, but they are dynamic and individually tailored to best resonate with the children and youth encountered on each visit. 

Our dedicated outreach team adapts to serve the areas surrounding all three Lubuto libraries. While Kenny, Brenda, Besa and others continue to reach every corner they can in Lusaka, Ndala recently moved down to Nabukuyu to reach beyond the walls of the Mumuni Library. Our outreach coordinators identify places in each community where marginalized children might be who might not know about our libraries, or may not be able to visit them. Sessions have been held at playgrounds, local schools, markets, churches, and even homes.

The boys who hang out there are very lost, both in the homeless sense and in the fog of fumes from the “glue” they sniff from discarded water and soda bottles...They were so eager for attention from caring persons who had come not to threaten, abuse, or chase them away but to read, counsel, and interact with them that it hardly mattered what book Kenny was sharing.Sally Sinn, Lubuto board member

Urban v. Rural Zambia Outreach

Life in rural Zambia is very different than in the large urban center of Lusaka. Our outreach leader Ndala is leading us in learning that many children in Nabukuyu attend outreach activities with their mothers. He has embraced their presence and encouraged the mothers to visit Mumuni. Recently, a group of 12 mothers between the ages of 16 and 23, who had only reach the seventh grade, came to the library. They now come about once a week, taking part in LubutoLiteracy lessons and telling traditional stories to local girls.

Our rural outreach now has a strong emphasis on girls in contrast to urban outreach which encounters more boys.  Ndala explains that “children and adults in Mumuni find it hard to open up, especially when you ask them to come to the library. They appear to be shy and tend to think that it’s a place for those in school only.” Nabukuyu girls are particularly timid when they are in groups with both genders. He has therefore adapted programming to specifically address self-expression for girls.  Ndala is thus able to use outreach sessions to frame the library in an accessible and welcoming way, and to demonstrate that Lubuto offers a non-judgmental space where children are free to be themselves both on-site and off-site.

It was as if for the short time we were there, the boys could be transported from the hopelessness of their daily life to the possibility of the safe and nurturing environment that the Lubuto Library offers.Sally Sinn