Grace Community Libraries
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As we engage the children spiritually, we also desire to challenge them mentally. Our goal is to open a library in every community where we have a Vacation Bible School.
In 2010, we opened lending libraries in seven villages and added an eighth in April 2012. Each library has about 1,000 books. Headmasters of the local schools have rearranged class schedules so students have time every week to walk to the library and check out a book. Because of the great response, the library shelves are often empty.
In 2011, a sponsor donated laptop computers for each of the initial seven libraries and we trained the librarians how to use them. Most of them had never used a computer before. These laptops are in the libraries for the children to use. In May 2012, a local cell phone company proveded modems for four of the libraries. The children at these libraries will be matched as e-pals with classes or students in the United States.
We are also, grateful to announce that the Ghanaian government has agreed to pay salaries for 14 librarians (two at each library). We applaud the seven librarians who have worked for over a year on a purely volunteer basis. We pray God richly blesses them for their commitment.
The results have been worth every amount of effort.
The teachers in the villages where we have libraries have reported an overall increase in student reading and writing levels. One forth grade teacher reported that he had four students who, at the beginning of the year, were not prepared for fourth grade. In the past, students at their level would have to repeat the grade. However, by taking to opportunity to use the library, all four students were able to pass their end-of-year exam and were promoted to fifth grade.
Top readers from each library are invited to the radio station for an interview. They share about their favorite books, talking about the characters and the plot. Leaders in other villages are calling us, asking what they need to do in order to get their own library.
How you can help
We are always in need of quality, new or used children's books. The official language of Ghana is English, so books in English are wonderful. However, English is the students' second language, so the children's books are most appropriate to their English reading level. We ask that, for every box of books you donate, you include a $5 donation to help cover the shipping costs to Ghana.
It takes a lot of work to open a library. We need a team each year to travel to Ghana and help categorize, tag, and distribute the books. Our partner page will have current information on travel dates.
We need laptops for the new libraries we are opening in 2012.
Updated May 2012