We recently completed an evaluation of our library project in Eastern Uganda. Here are some of the stories that teachers and librarians shared with us of the way libraries are changing their schools.
Julie has been a teacher for 20 years in Eastern Uganda. She has been in her present post as English teacher for the past 6 years. The school received a library from Africa Educational Trust (AET) 4 years ago and Juliet was chosen as a lead librarian and was trained to take care of the books and encourage other teachers to use them in their lessons. It was her own love of books that made her volunteer. Julie says, she has loved poetry and has enjoyed reading it since her days as a student. At home she has few books so the chance to help with the library has given her the opportunity to read more herself.
The head teachers has been very supportive and under Julie’s leadership the books are well cared for and well used. She has inspires teachers to read to classes and you can see the reference books are used in lesson planning by teahcers. But its the pupils, she will tell you, are the real winners. She feels that her pupils gain so much from the library books and she has trained pupil librarians in every school year group. She was thrilled to see so many of her pupils who are achieving higher levels in school leaving examinations because they have better resources.
Warren, who teachers year 3, can also attest to how useful having the library is. His classe loves the library. He says its amazing to see how they are absolutely silent as they look at the books. Sylvester also brings books to the classroom and regularly reads with the children. He feels that the availability of books has made the children much more dedicated and focused on learning to read because they are so enthusiastic about looking at the books. He takes borrows from the library himself and takes home books to share with his family.
The chance to borrow books is very special for teachers and students. Kathryn, in year 4, is a frequent borrower at her library. She enjoys picture-books, especially fairy tales. We when spoke with her, she retold us her favourite story, that of Beauty and the Beast. She says when she takes books home, she and her Grandmother will sit together, and she will read the stories to her Grandmother. If it were not for the library she would have no access to books since she has none of her own at home.
In partnership with Book-Aid, its our goal to complete 100 libraries by the end of the next year! We hope to have many more stories to share!