"Our new library is just fantastic not just for the children but for our local community as well," explains Claudia Lubinda.
Claudia is the coordinator for our latest new-build library and Reading Room. “The library is always packed full of children exploring new books, reading and doing their homework. Demand is so high that we often open at the weekends too,” says Claudia.
|Claudia is delighted with the new library|
Located in the Dambwa Compound near Livingstone Zambia, the library opened its doors to the local community in September this year. The three-roomed sturdy building consists of a children’s library with the two surrounding rooms used by the community for homework clubs, tailoring classes and adult literacy classes.
Dambwa is a densely populated area with no government school for the hundreds of children that live there and a lack of community facilities for its population. The Book Bus has been working with two community-based schools for five years often teaching under trees or in shelters with little or no protection from the sun or rain. The community teachers worked either under trees or in a single-roomed structure that would flood during the rains.
Readathon raises funds
The Reading Room and library was funded by a number of donors including St Mary’s College, Hull, Hill House School, The Irish Association from Kingston-upon-Hull, former Book Bus volunteer Fiona Gillies and several volunteers visiting Livingstone during 2014. Between them they raised over £6,000 enough money to erect a solid brick building that would not only be the home of a much-needed children’s library but would also give the local community a schoolroom and two dry airy rooms to hold classes in. Hill House school donated more than £2,500 by having a readathon with their pupils where more than 600 books were read over a month. Marathon indeed!
Book Bus Project Co-ordinator Kelly Geoghegan supervised the build and jumped right in getting the rooms decorated in bright, inviting and warm colours.
“Getting a community resource built here is of such great value to local people. At the heart is a new inviting library full of books to help develop that much needed reading culture. The kids are so enthusiastic about reading. On the day we opened every seat and cushion was taken as the children settled down to read a choice of books. For most, this was their very first experience of a library.” said Kelly.
She continued, “Local communities need more resources like this. A learning place that they can call their own and develop projects that will bring income into local communities."
|Using local labour to build|
Sustainability at its heart
The Book Bus used locally paid labour to build the Reading Room and together with the local community designed the building to ensure it matched local needs. Local coordinator Claudia now manages the library and Reading Room on behalf of the local community.
“It’s important that the Reading Room and library are run by the community for the community,” says Claudia. “ We are grateful to the people who donated money, time and books for our library. As a community we will now take great care of it” she said.
More than 1,800 books were shipped out to stock the library – a great start but many many more books are needed.