Officers of the Los Alamos Middle School Builders Club show off some of the donated books they collected for the African Library Project. Courtesy photo
BY SHARON ALLEN
African Library Project Volunteer
Over the next two months, Kiwanis-sponsored service clubs (K-Kids, Builders Club, and Key Club) at all local schools will be conducting a massive drive to collect children’s books to make school libraries in Kenya, East Africa. Students in Kenyan schools receive all their instruction in English. Supplementary reading books for practicing the use of the language are critical to helping students succeed but are very seldom found in rural areas. Kenyans value education, but without English proficiency, many students are forced to drop out. With access to books that make reading enjoyable, more kids stay in school, leading to more employment options and thus a better life.
The goal is to ship 10,000-12,000 books by the end of January 2022. That translates into about 200 35-45 pound boxes of books at a total cost of $5,000-$6,000. This will create 10 libraries for 10 rural schools/communities that have never had a library.
How to help? Here are some ways you can get involved:
1. donate $ toward the $500 shipping fees needed for each library. (We’d love a few donors willing to sponsor a whole school library.)
2. support local school fundraisers for The African Library Project (these will vary by the school)
3. volunteer to help elementary-age school kids pack books in December or January
4. volunteer a dry, easily accessible space (garage is fine!) to store packed boxes of books until January 2022 (we can arrange delivery and pick up of the packed boxes)
5. support local schools by purchasing new books to donate, especially ones with African characters and/or themes, at Scholastic book fairs
6. donate packing tape (we will need 60-80 rolls!!!) 7. donate used children’s books (preschool – 8th grade reading level) at any Los Alamos or White Rock elementary school, LAMS, or LAHS. The Los Alamos Schools Credit Union (LASCU) also has a drop-off box. Even ONE BOOK can make the difference in the life of an African child!
Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, former LAPS superintendent and present NM PED Secretary of Education, has been a strong supporter of this project and recently said “During this Year of Literacy, I urge every New Mexican to find time to help just one person learn to read or share a love of books with someone.” Let’s take up his challenge and do just that, Los Alamos!
For more information or to donate or volunteer please contact Sharon Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Los Alamos!