Monday, October 27, 2014

The Tsoaing Primary School Library!!

Here is Class 5's new school library. My school received a donation of books and supplies earlier this year through the African Library Project and Concord Presbyterian Church in Delaware.

   It was time for my English lesson so instead of opening up an old, crummy textbook, I pulled out a Dr. Seuss number, “Hop on Pop,” from my school’s new library and began to read.
   My students sat still, for once. They listened.
   I often do this, thanks to a huge book donation from the African Library Project, an organization that helps to start libraries on the continent.
   Concord Presbyterian Church in Delaware was my school’s donor. Led by church member Karyn Sundleaf, the church held a massive book drive and sent us nearly 1,000 books and school and craft supplies.

We received 13 boxes of books and supplies from Concord Presbyterian Church through the African Library Project.

The boxes contained my favorite childhood books including ones from Dr. Seuss, Corduroy and Clifford the Big Red Dog.

We placed the books in lockers that the school already had. We also used benches for overflow.
The books were classified by type such as reference, and subject such as animals. It was easier for the teachers and students to organize the books this way because the school doesn’t have electricity.

   There are two libraries, one for classes 1-4, and another for classes 5-7. The ALP recommended that we break up the libraries for primary school students so that they won’t be overwhelmed and the libraries will be easier to manage. Each class has a set day and time to visit the libraries.
   I held a workshop for teachers and students about library usage and book care. This was important because it helps to maintain and sustain the libraries.
   We selected boys and girls to act as library monitors. This helps to create sustainability and maintain the library, and gives the children ownership of their books.
   Teachers often supplement their lessons with some of the books from the libraries. They really like the children’s encyclopedia books because the kids are always asking questions, especially about animals and nature, so it's nice to have books on hand that details those topics.
  When I read to my students (and the kids at home), I sometimes have to read in Sesotho so all of my students can follow the story. I teach all English levels in one class.
 Overall, the kids love both libraries and are so grateful for the books, and I’m happy to be promoting literacy here.
   Libraries tend to not do so well in this country because the lifestyle doesn’t promote a reading culture. Most people work in the fields all day and don’t have electricity so when they come home, they’re too tired to do anything other than cook and bath, and barely have enough light read a book. (I sometimes read to my kids at home by flashlight.)
   Despite those facts, Lesotho does have a high literacy rate and these books will hopefully help my students to be bilingual and have fun while learning. 
   Thank you again to Concord Presbyterian Church, Karyn Sundleaf, the African Library Project and the Peace Corps for helping Tsoaing Primary School with its libraries!!

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