children at the Lubuto Library

Lubuto Libraries’ Reach

Our 2013 numbers are in! Here’s a glimpse of the range of young people who visit our libraries every day.

Lubuto Libraries are unique in their ability to reach these children who so often fall through the cracks of other services in Zambia.

eXe Workshop

The new and improved LubutoLiteracy lessons are moving to a new platform! The original 700 reading lessons in 7 Zambian languages were created in eToys, but during the past month Lubuto developers began re-creating an improved set of lessons in an HTML5 platform called eXe. This means the open source lessons can be adapted for use on mobile phones as well as big-screen use and that user data will be automatically reported. EXe’s author, Mike Dawson of Ustad Mobile, has held two week-long training workshops with our lesson developers in Zambia. Prior to this, Dr. Joseph Mwansa, a mother-tongue literacy expert and designer of the new government reading curriculum, redesigned the LubutoLiteracy lessons so that they will be extending the curriculum to a digital environment. 978 children used eToys-based LubutoLiteracy in our libraries in 2013, and now that lessons are improved along with the new reading curriculum and will be available in an engaging new format with built-in progress assessments, we are eager to see and measure how effectively they teach children to read!

Lubuto Supports Zambian Publishing House

One of Lubuto’s important initiatives is our digital repository of Zambian stories, which you can find at We work hard to preserve this literary heritage for the next generation of Zambian readers, and recently our efforts were appreciated by Zambian librarian-journalists Jabulani Moyo and Lumpa Mbanga, who interviewed President Jane Meyers when she was in Zambia in January. You can read their article here ( This publicity in turn caught the attention of the Zambian Educational Publishing House (ZEPH) who still print and sell many of these classic Zambian story books. Now, Lubuto and ZEPH are launching a partnership that presents a new paradigm for library-publishers relations in the digital age. ZEPH will begin selling their books in kiosks alongside our non-circulating libraries, building a market for the literature, and giving the print books a new, wider audience!

Movie Night at the Library!

Along with new Lubuto services for teens, like the book club we wrote about in our February newsletter, Lubuto has begun hosting film nights for the many youth who visit our libraries. Not only do these films attract children who may have limited literacy, they also demonstrate to young viewers how inspirational stories can be told in a variety of media, not just books. Recent showings were Red Tails, George Lucas’ historical film on the Tuskegee Airmen of WWII, and Themba, a South Africa film about a boy who hopes to join his country’s football team, despite a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS. While films like these are great entertainment for children at Lubuto Libraries, they are also narratives of overcoming real-world obstacles and finding leadership within, topics which these youth reflect upon in the post-movie discussions.

OSISA Expands Lubuto Funding with Comic Relief

Lubuto Wins USAID Contest for Innovative Literacy Solutions

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.

The Lubuto Library Project team joined other winners to showcase their innovation at a DevelopmentXChange session on September 7 at USAID headquarters and uniquely highlighted the role that libraries play as "technology incubators." Please see our press release for more details on this exciting project.

All Children Reading

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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