School Library in Benin
- Let Girls Learn
This project will furnish the local high school with a library. Currently, students have limited access to textbooks. Students must rely only on their notes and what they learn in class. The library will provide the school with necessary materials such as textbooks, dictionaries, and maps to facilitate learning. In addition, the library will include a computer, printer, and photocopier. There is no place in the community to use such technology. In today’s digitalized world, students will greatly benefit from access to such resources which will allow them to be competitive and successful. Recently, the high school has had a low passage rate for national exams. Last year, only thirteen high school students passed the national exam, the BEPC, only three of which are girls. Girls have an especially difficult time staying in school due to certain cultural expectations and other societal pressures such as forced marriages and unwanted pregnancies. Giving students access to a library will help students attain the level they need to pass national exams. The community is supportive of this initiative as they are providing the basis for this project. The school has a newly constructed classroom available to store the academic materials. The community will supply a librarian to manage the resources. Furthermore, the school has a small number of textbooks that they will contribute to the library. The community is fully committed to seeing their students succeed and is eager to provide them with the tools they need to do so.
The administration has laid the groundwork for this project. The entire school administration has participated in talks about how the library will function. During these talks, we discussed how to secure community contribution and necessary materials such as wood for cabinets to house the books and window screens to protect the electronics. They have identified the needs of the school, created a list for teachers to list what documents students need including novels, informational books, and practice books. The school administration has identified the price and location of books, construction materials, and electronics that we will need for the library.
The classroom that will house the books and electronics has already been constructed at the school. The community will provide the personnel to work in the library and monitor students as they use its resources. At the beginning of the project, the current dean of students will work in the library until the end of the 2018-2019 school year. As the dean of students is already a member of the school administration, his salary is already paid for. During this time, a permanent librarian will be identified. The school administration will submit a request for a librarian to the departmental Ministry of Education. If the request is approved, a librarian will be stationed at the school and will be paid by the government. In the event that the department is unable to provide a librarian, the community will appoint a local community member such as a temporary teacher to work in the library. Community partners such as the Parent Teachers Association will pay for this individual’s salary. There are plenty of temporary teachers that are currently without work due to reductions at the school who would be available and qualified to do such a job. In this way, the new personnel for the library will be provided through the departmental Ministry of Education or the community. The school accountant will train the librarian on how to use the technology and lend books to students through the register system to log which books are checked out by students. This will ensure that the library continues to be operational in the future as the community will provide the critical components for this project such as the librarian.
The community will be highly invested in this project. The students will be motivated to use the library as they currently struggle to find dictionaries, photocopies, and resources to study. The main issue is maintaining the books and the personnel to keep the library open. The school administration has already addressed these issues by arranging for the community to provide a librarian and establishing a system to keep track of how and when students use books.
Teachers will also contribute to maintaining the library as they will see the transformation of students in their classroom. The school will encourage the use of the library by training the teachers to incorporate the new resources and textbooks into their lessons. In the future, the library may be opened up to the larger community for literacy classes for adults. Extracurricular activities will also take place in the library including English and French Club. Through continued use of the library during class hours and during recreational hours, students and teachers will become habituated to using the library and its resources. The school is dedicated to sustaining the library to improve students’ scores on national exams.
The school’s environment is adequate for the new technology. The school just built classrooms, one of which will be reserved for the library. Improvements will be made such as installing window screens to protect the books and electronics. The items will be properly stored and safeguarded for students and teachers to use.
The electronics will also be well-maintained in the village. The librarian and school administration will oversee access, usage, maintenance, and upgrades to the technological items. The librarian will monitor how often the items are used and by who through a list. At the end of each month, the director and vice-principal will review who used the materials to verify that they are being utilized in an appropriate manner. The librarian will also inspect the electronics to ensure that there are no issues. If there is an issue, the librarian will inform the school accountant so that he can begin the process of repairing the items. Access and usage of the technology will be provided in a fair way so that teachers and students are allowed to use the items for academic purposes. The library will be open during school hours and during afternoons when there is no class. This gives students and teachers free time to utilize the resources in the library.
In addition, the village is currently being outfitted with electricity. There are already solar panels and power lines installed. The community is in the final stages of receiving electricity. In the event that there is an issue installing electricity, there is a line in the project’s budget to repair the school’s generator. The generator will be used to power the electronics until there is electricity. Once the village has electricity, the school will pay to have electricity in all of the classrooms including the library. The generator will then be used as a backup for the electronics. This will ensure that the technology can be used in the event of power outages.
Furthermore, funds gained from photocopies will be used for future licensing and upgrades. The electronics will be self-sustaining as money from photocopies will be reused for upgrades and repairs. This ensures the technology will continue to be upgraded in the future. Items for the electronics can be purchased in the town nearby. There are vendors in the surrounding towns that will order the materials. If the electronics break or malfunction, there are technicians that will be able to come and make repairs. The school administration already has contacts with these individuals. Community partners such as the Parent Teacher Association will also donate money to maintain the library as their students are benefiting from the resources.