So I wanted to write a blog on some good news. My school has officially started a library. I finished putting it together yesterday so that way when Term 2 starts kids can come and check-out books. Please note that the following tale about starting a library is quite unusual. I had a lot of positive factors work in my favor that made this possible in such a short time. Most PCVs are not lucky enough to have all of this working for them.
So naturally the first step is to get people on board with the idea of making a library. Usually this can be an issue just in itself, but at the beginning of March (yeah, this whole process took just a month-rather unusual) my counterpart came to me and said that she wanted to start one at the school. Community interest accomplished! Onto the next step.
This is usually one of the hardest steps to accomplish. Finding a space. Most schools need a new building built in order to house any size library. Lots of PCVs have to scrounge for donations, including grant writing to try and accomplish this. Once again, I had a huge stroke of good fortune. Our school had a store room with not a lot in it that could be cleared out and relocated.
Sure, it isn't the biggest space in the world, in fact it is just a storage closet. But it is better than having nothing available, that is for sure. So naturally the next step in the process is to clear out the store room. (Although this step actually did not get done till after we got book donations, it still needs to get done before assembling the library.)
And once the school cleaned out the space, I was ready to rock and roll on putting this thing together. I went around to several classes and got teachers to give me some metal cabinets they were not using so I would have something to put the books on.
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS!!!!!
Since 1998 the Botswana Book Project has been responsible for bringing over 450,000 books to schools all throughout Botswana. Started by Pam Shelton in the Maun area, it has spread all throughout Botswana. There are many ways you can help, and we welcome all support. You can donate to shipments at www.booksforafrica.org. All donations are tax deductable. You can also donate books. To see all the ways you can help, and to see the results of our work in action, please visit: botswanabookproject.org We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.
And we are back. In all seriousness, this organization is fantastic. I was able to get over 200 books for our library from them. They are doing great work all over Botswana and if you are in a position to help them I know it would be greatly appreciated. Here is what I was able to get from them.
These boxes had over 200 books between them. So at this point I had some books to start with and some cabinets. At this point, one of the teachers tell me they got a book donation from The Botswana Library Association in 2011. But, they didn't know where to put them so they were just sitting in a teacher's storeroom for two years. Well I quickly liberated those books to incorporate them into the library.
Now that I had all the parts, it was time to sort. We had books that I put into 7 different categories: Stories and Novels, Learning to Read, Health, Science and Nature, Religion, Reference Books, and Teacher's Resources. Also, I got some maps from Pam Shelton as well (See, another great reason to support her!!!), so I used those and some signs I made to decorate the walls and label the book sections. After about a half day of sorting and putting things up on Wednesday we had a finished product.
As you can see we still have room for a ton more books. I am planning to look around to see if I can find more, but it is at least nice to have some ready to go. A few kids saw me setting it up yesterday and asked if they can take some. School closed yesterday, and I wasn't done with the work, so I told them at the start of Term 2 they can. Here is hoping it gets some use!