African Library Project

Getting Better and Better -- ALP Announces the 3rd Edition of Its Manual deborah and manual

A complement to the training provided by our partners, How to Set Up and Run a Small Library in Africa, guides school librarians in the hard work of setting up a library.

Deborah Lustig, editor of all three editions, describes the new edition as the distillation of the wisdom and experience of many. It includes the best practices from hundreds of ALP libraries, our African partners and individuals who have lent their expertise in rural African libraries. She says, “I think the manual gets better every time!”

Francis Kachala, one of ALP’s partners in Malawi, appreciates ALP’s work in developing the manual. He says, “Thanks very much for all your efforts in ensuring improved library management through this manual, which is like a bible to our projects.”

As Deborah explains, “Most people who are asked to help set up and run a small school or community library are not trained librarians and have no experience in setting one up. This manual provides step-by-step instructions to establish a library and run it well.” She also advises each librarian to network with nearby librarians.

The manual covers topics such as selecting books for the library, making a written record of the library’s materials, organizing the books and materials, choosing the best method of lending library books, and repairing damaged books.

For librarians who feel that setting up a library is a struggle, Deborah offers this reassurance, “The problems you face have been tackled by other librarians in similar situations.” Deborah speaks from experience. While a high school teacher in Kenya, she set up a school library there. Years later, when she was an ALP Board Member, the board wanted to update the out-of-print, out-of-date manual published by Voluntary Service Overseas UK. Deborah said, “I’ll do it.”

In addition to the hard copies provided to ALP libraries, the manual is available as a free download for anyone working to establish a library with limited resources. Deborah says, “It is a way of expanding ALP’s reach.”

Isabelle Mussard, ALP CEO, adds that, “We hope that this manual is helpful in creating a library that celebrates a reading culture and empowers its readers.”

Sammy Dlamini from Swaziland offers his thanks for the update, “This is a very important project to give our children a better future. Keep up the good work ALP champions.”

September 2017