Modernizing Community Library
- Community Growth
The goal of the project is to increase the functionality of the library through available resources, introducing new technology and library management skills to improve learning conditions and the community’s access to resources. With this Grant we will be able to add bookshelves, reinforce the door and windows, make chairs and tables, finish paintings and add computers. Introducing computers in the community and expanding the library to be user friendly will improve many of the issues in the community by providing information related to but not limited to education, gender equality and other topics not covered in the national program, for example art, and creativity. The community plans to help contribute to this project by providing the necessary furniture such as: bookshelves, chairs and tables.
After my IST in early 2019, my counterpart and I met with the Principal, Director of studies, and another teacher at my school to discuss what we had learned. We then went around and spoke to our community to determine what was the greatest need and priority to be addressed. We concluded that resources in our community needed to be increased to aid with education. Since there was already a library in the community, the best place to start was modernize the library. With the help of my principal, the director of studies and two other teachers from my school we defined the goals, objectives, and needs for modernizing the library. We then presented this project to the authorities in my community as well as a few students to see if this was a project they would support. Everyone was excited about the project and pointed out how most student in the community have never touched a computer. Based on the feedback from this meeting we were able to redefine the goals and objectives to better fit the community’s needs. Recently at the end of September through the organization called Books of Africa we that previously provided the books we have, we were able to increase our inventory. The secondary school has many textbooks for students to take home, however there are not enough for each student. We have discussed adding a few copies of each textbook to the library for students to be able to use to do their homework, study or to find extra practice problems.
One of the bigger ideas that the community is excited about is the addition of computers. Training teachers at the secondary school basics on Word, Excel and PowerPoint will help with daily tasks required at the school. Creating documents can be very time consuming when everything is hand written, however being able to do tasks such as grades on Excel will decrease the time needed and decrease the occurrences of human errors. Since a location is already set, the next step that came was determining a budget. The planning committee, the community authorities, a few students, and I did a walk-through of the library to determine all the possible needs. With that list, my principal, my counterpart from IST and I began pricing everything. We reworked that list until we achieved one that was financially feasible. Raising money in a small village is not easy, but after talking about the improvements and addition of computers to the library, my community assured me that they will be able to provide the 25% contribution required. The community and local officials have agreed to provide workers for building the bookshelves, chairs and tables as well as supply most of the materials needed to build these. They are aware that I am not the driving force of this project. It is something that the community really wants and needs. They have to put in the effort, and I have not been disappointed. During the first month of planning we met at least 3 times a week before presenting the project to the community and those involved are always asking what are the next steps to get this project going.
To ensure the sustainability of this project, a committee comprised of no more than 11 will be formed of teachers, students and community members. This committee will monitor and oversee the resources at the library. To ensure sustainability in the computer literacy classes, committee members will be trained, by my counterpart and myself, on basic computer skills and trained on how to give the lessons to other community members. The committee will meet at least once a month (more often in the beginning of the project) to ensure the adequate operation of the library and literacy club. They will ensure the logistics of computer lessons and fundraising and keep up on the maintenance of the space, materials and equipment. They will also address the needs and concerns of the community. Holding small computer literacy classes with a fee, will ensure the sustainability of the library as these funds gained from the classes will help cover the cost of upkeep of the library. If more money is needed the committee will be responsible for fundraising that money. This skill will be taught in the required management classes for those in the committee. Some ideas besides charging for computer classes would be holding a movie night with a small fee, and working with the school/ parent association to add a library fee to the school fee.