Sunday, 25 October 2015

Books, books, everywhere books...

“It’s absolutely beautiful –bright colours, lots of great artwork and full of fantastic books. ”

That’s how one student summed up her feelings as she stepped foot in latest Book Bus community library.  Located in Livingstone, Zambia, Maanu Mwambi Community library flung its doors open this month to more than 500 school children and the local community.
A beautiful new Book Bus library for the children of Maanu Mwambi school

The story on our latest library build began in February 2015, when Hampshire based Secondary School, Cams Hill, approached The Book Bus looking to fund a project as part of their ‘Freedom To Dream’ programme.

We identified Maanu Mwambi School in Livingstone as the perfect partner. We had strong links with the community with our reading mentor programme and the children had already developed a real enthusiasm for reading. In June we agreed that a new library would be a real positive boost for the schools literacy programme and also help the community develop a reading culture.  Ideally we wanted the library build, finished and opened before the rainy season began in November. 

The walls are built from local bricks

From the very start of the project, the whole community became involved and local suppliers were used in every aspect of the build. Foundations were dug and handmade bricks were made from the soil of termite mounds and baked in a nearby kiln to form the library walls.

A local painter was tasked with making the library as colourful as possible. Of course, Book Bus yellow was the favourite colour. Vibrant bunting was made from locally-produced fabrics and hung across the ceilings under the watchful eye of Book Bus co-ordinator Kelly Geoghegan. Multi-coloured furniture and shelves all added to the friendly and welcoming feel. The aim was to make the library as inviting and fun as possible so that the children would want to spend their time there discovering the wonderful world of books.  
The children helped stock their library 

The books are sorted
In September thousands of books began to arrive, kindly delivered by our own Book Bus – George. The Grade 7 students from Maanu Mwambi offered to unload the books and our Book Bus librarians, Claudia, Jackline and James took charge cataloguing and sorting everything. The Book Bus recruits people from the local community to help in the library as volunteers and to train them as reading mentors. Some of the older children were also given the opportunity to receive training on how to organise and run the library themselves.

In October, the dream had become a reality and the library was officially opened. Hundreds of students and their parents turned out to see the cutting of the tape. As a special prize, 10 children from each class were chosen to be the first to experience the new library. The children couldn’t contain their excitement when they walked in and took no time in diving straight in to read their new books.
Celebrations on the opening day 

Livingstone's new bookworms..

Building libraries in schools and communities such as Maanu Mwambi provides real opportunities for children to read and improve their literacy skills. Books are powerful  and being able to read helps unlock the potential  of children.

This will open their eyes to the world around them and empower them to pursue their own dreams.

But we need your help too.

Give a donation to keep the doors of Maanu Mwambi library stay open