Mumuni's Opening Week

Early lessons from Mumuni Library

While the third Lubuto Library will not officially open until November, we’ve finished construction of the reading room so books could be on the shelves for our collection researchers to get started. And just like the opening weeks of our first two libraries, children are coming to the library in droves, pulling books off the shelves and engaging in storytime with enthusiasm. Since our libraries are always greeted with such activity, for our future libraries we’ve decided to open the reading room and introduce the collection a month before introducing other programs and technology.

Mumuni’s massive influx of visitors has also given our staff and research team some great insights about our first library in a rural area. Importantly, a much higher percentage of the visitors are small children brought in by their mothers or older siblings. To ensure these young visitors are served by their library, Lubuto is working with the Nabukuyu community to develop early childhood programming based on Tonga traditions and stories. Lubuto’s approach to development of all of its programs and systems engages stakeholders in this way to ensure relevance, ownership and sustainability.

New Collection Management Systems

Lubuto Library collections don’t circulate, which means our research team has had to come up with many creative approaches to evaluating interest in each book in the collection. Typically, Elizabeth and Lisa have tracked how many times each book needs to be re-shelved each day: while books don’t circulate outside the library, they do circulate on and off the shelves frequently within the library. Because manual tracking is too cumbersome, it was time to introduce an automated system of bar-coding and scanning each title. Thanks to the quick work of our staff in Zambia to get the scanner itself, and Lisa grabbing a bar code printer right before hopping on the plane to Lusaka, we can now automate both inventory and use of our collections. Once again, Lubuto has adapted modern library systems to one that is sustainable in our unique environment.

Back to School!

As we reported last month, Thomas Mukonde will be heading off to University of Illinois this month to begin his Master’s in Library Science, thanks to the invaluable contributions of many of you to A Leader for African Libraries. Before saying a “see you later” to the staff in Zambia, Thomas represented Lubuto at the Standing Conference of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Library and Information Associations (SCECSAL) in Lilongwe, Malawi. Since his departure, our Program Manager, Imanga Kayama has taken over management of our All Children Reading grant, along with the rest of the programs she has been overseeing. She has also picked up blogging from the libraries where Thomas left off. Check out her latest post on Zefe and Nolasco, the boys who stole school!

OSISA Expands Lubuto Funding with Comic Relief

Lubuto Wins USAID Contest for Innovative Literacy Solutions

All Children Reading

We are thrilled to announce that a Lubuto innovation is among 32 winners of an All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development grant, made possible through the generous support of the All Children Reading Founding Partners: the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Vision and the Australian Agency for International Development. The competition to create innovative solutions to improve early grade reading in the developing world elicited more than 450 submissions from more than 75 countries. Lubuto's winning proposal, "LubutoLiteracy: Zambian teaching and learning materials for the digital age," is funded by World Vision.Please see our press release for more details on this exciting project.

The Lubuto Library Project team joined other winners to showcase their innovation at a DevelopmentXChange session on September 7, 2013 at USAID headquarters and uniquely highlighted the role that libraries play as "technology incubators."

Lubuto was also an invited participant and panelist at a Global Reading Materials Depository Ideation Meeting sponsored by USAID and co-hosted by All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development and the U.S. Library of Congress on March 17-18, 2014. The meeting was organized to explore the need for, the possible development of, and next steps toward the creation of a digital collection(s) of early grade reading materials. The primary objective of such a repository of early grade reading materials would be to improve access, particularly to local language reading materials, for early grade school children in developing countries.

The Lubuto Library Project

Lubuto is a word in the Bemba language, spoken in central Africa, that signifies knowledge, enlightenment and light.

The Lubuto project creates high quality, open-access libraries to serve Africa's street kids and other vulnerable children and youth. The library provides a safe haven and an opening to the world beyond the bleak streets. Lubuto offers educational services and the simple pleasure of books and the arts for children who find themselves alone in the world. Giving the burgeoning numbers of street children the chances they deserve to develop their imaginations and to realize their potential is Lubuto’s challenge.

photo of new library

Lubuto’s highly professional organization, in the US and Zambia, does not work as an isolated charity. The sustainability of its program is ensured through partnership with government, community-based organizations, and professional groups, and Lubuto libraries are owned and run by Zambians.

Read more about Lubuto Libraries.


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