African Library Project

Eight Nation Library Summit Inspires!


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In the world of global development, sustainability rules. In November, 40 delegates from seven African nations and the USA gathered in Kanya, Botswana. Their mission: ensure sustainability by sharing the best ideas emerging in ALP’s library network and celebrate our 2,293 libraries.

Our African partners from Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Kenya, and 97 teacher-librarians from Botswana joined ALP board members, volunteers, and staff.

The week began with a welcoming celebration hosted by our Botswana partners from the Ministry of Basic Education that included visits to schools with ALP libraries. Kidz Academy students ages 10-15 debated whether the advance of technology has made libraries unnecessary. The debate was heated, but the audience welcomed the conclusion: libraries continue to be relevant.

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Our libraries begin with book drives, then are sustained by our African partners and the teacher librarians. The Summit offered workshops for both groups to give them new tools to meet their challenges and inspiration to continue their work.

ALP libraries are primarily located in rural villages where the schools have no libraries or trained librarians, so the Summit offered four library management workshops. Each were co-led by a U.S. volunteer and an African partner, designed to strengthen the skills of teacher-librarians. And just as important as hearing from the presenters, the teacher librarians connected with each other and shared their own ideas about how to create a successful library.

Especially popular was a grant writing workshop led by experienced grant makers. Our partners competed for $1000, funded generously by the Tate Family Foundation. Each grant maker commented on the proposals to make their thought process transparent.

“I just feel so encouraged, and it is good to be here. The presenters moved our hearts so deeply to continue with this good work in our respective countries.”
- Nonkululeko Mdluli, ED, Fundza, Swaziland

“We learned a lot from the experience of other partners. When we go back we’ll put it into practice.”
Joel Nakitare, Sr Librarian, Rongo U, Kenya

“The Summit magnified the commitment and capacity of everyone involved. It strengthened our resolve to create more libraries and change more lives.”
- Isabelle Mussard, CEO, ALP, USA

 December 2017