Types of Books Needed
Stout knows that a library, if developed properly, can be a sustainable endeavor for years. She wants to stock it with books that will have far-reaching benefits for all. She would like to place books on the following topics:
- Environmentally friendly and sustainable farming methods
- Starting or developing a business
- Health, with particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS and malaria
- Reference material of all sort for the teachers
Stout further stated, “My biggest hope is to stock the library with novels by African authors written in Kiswahili. It will be wonderful to show the children that they too could become writers and create stories of their own for others to enjoy.”
Hopes for the New Library
Stout aptly summed up her hope for the library when her time volunteering is up:
“I truly hope that the school will continue to buy books and the villagers will utilize the resources in the library to prosper and continue to improve the lives of their families. My greatest hope is that the students at the school will read and nourish their starved imaginations. These children need the opportunity to see the world beyond this one tiny village. Most children aren’t able to leave the village because their parents have no money for a taxi or bus. Their entire universe is here in Utelewe, which is quite beautiful with sweeping vistas and rolling hills, but so very limited. They deserve to live in the world with its diversity and endless discoveries, not just rooms with bare walls.”
She strongly believe that the library will be sustainable as she is “confident that the teachers and students are motivated enough to continue expanding this library not only for this village, but the five surrounding villages as well.”
Building Libraries: Value of Volunteering
The value of volunteering in the establishment of the library at the Utelewe Primary School brings to mind a quote by former President Bill Clinton, “Volunteering is an act of heroism on a grand scale. And it matters profoundly. It does more than help people beat the odds; it changes the odds.”
Stout is hoping that her grant request of $3,200 will be achieved by the end of March 2013. There is currently a shortfall of $ 1, 700.00 which is needed to help make this project successful. She said of the donations “As I’ve mentioned before on my facebook page, this is a tangible project people can contribute to because I am here living this experience and will post pictures on the PCPP website connected to peacecorps.gov. Everyone will see firsthand the difference they have made by contributing just a little bit of money to a very worthy cause in a tiny village in Africa.”
Library Hours: Evening Access to Books
Will the library be available in the evenings for those who needed access, since there are no electric lights? Stout says, “the school has recently installed solar power at the primary school from funds they received for a grant set up by the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam. With solar electricity, they are able to have lights on in the evening for adults and the 7th graders, who are preparing for their final exams to enter secondary school and need to utilize the library.”
Libraries Improve Literacy
Libraries play a major role in literacy, especially in developing countries. The 2001 report, “The Role of Public Libraries in Children’s Literacy Development” by Dr. Donna Celano and Dr. Susan B. Neuman, starts by stating, “The public libraries in Pennsylvania play a major role in helping children to read.” An article on the role of public libraries in literacy in Zimbabwe published in Information and Knowledge Management states, “One of public libraries’ primary objectives is to provide adequate collections for reader development. Evidence has shown that public libraries have the potential to play a pivotal role in improving literacy and reading habits amongst children and young adults.” In other words: Helping to develop even a small village library is one way to contribute to the development of a nation.
Musingafi, Maxwell C.C. and Chiwanza, Kudzayi. The Role of Public Libraries in Promoting Literacy in Zimbabwe. (2012). Information and Knowledge Management, Volume 2, No. 7. Accessed March 21, 2013
Peace Corps. Learn about Volunteering. (2012) Accessed March 16, 2013.
Peace Corps. School Library. (2013). Accessed March 15, 2013.
Celano, D. and Neuman, S. The Role of Public Libraries in Children’s Literacy Development. (2001). Accessed March 19, 2013.