What We Do
What I find most inspiring about Lubuto is that children who have lived their lives in the margins suddenly find themselves at the centre - and learn that they deserve to be there. The vitality, openness and beauty of the libraries is such a stark contrast to their daily lives. Stacy Langner
Lubuto Library Partners is an innovative development organization that builds the capacity of public libraries to create opportunities for equitable education and poverty reduction. Our mission is to empower African children and youth and help them develop the knowledge and skills to reconnect with their culture and community and participate fully in society.
Lubuto constructs enduring, indigenously-inspired open-access libraries stocked with comprehensive collections of well-chosen books and appropriate technology. These libraries are the center for Lubuto’s programs, which offer education, psychosocial support and self-expression through reading, music, art, drama, computers, mentoring and other activities
The impetus for Lubuto's founding was that a large number of vulnerable children in Zambia—many of whom were out-of-school—were in need of public safe spaces that provide both encouragement and growth. Rather than focusing on offering specific or regimented programming, the Lubuto Library Model is designed to innovatively use professional library services as an adaptable and inclusive tool to support African children and youth.
A cornerstone of our approach is that Lubuto Library Partners does not own Lubuto libraries or collections. We work with host organizations at each library, who are the libraries' owners and stewards, and are responsible for staffing their libraries. In return, Lubuto continues to expand the collections, introduce new services and outreach activities and offer ongoing staff, volunteer and library professional training.
Lubuto’s core values reflect our understanding of education and participation in society as human rights. we believe in:
We strive to identify and meet the true needs of children, youth and communities.
We reach out to and integrate girls without excluding boys.
Lubuto libraries are open to all children while focusing on the most disadvantaged.
We believe that children and youth have the right to have their voices heard and participate in decision-making that affects their lives.
We believe that children and communities are capable and resourceful and we empower them to create positive change in their own lives.
We value and respect local tradition while incorporating best technological advance.
We promote a new paradigm for children’s library services and public libraries.
We scrupulously monitor our internal management and financial systems and communicate openly and honestly about our work.
We understand that we cannot achieve our vision alone.
We respect the priorities of the host country, the local communities and cultures and the individuals we are serving.
Local ownership and stewardship is fundamental to sustainability and relevance to society.