Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pobe-Mengao Library Update

The Pobe-Mengao Library

SANOU Dounko, FAVL’s regional activities coordinator, recently came to Pobe-Mengao for 2 weeks to train the future librarian of Belehede (a village about 65Km from Pobe).

In addition to the librarian training, Dounko worked extensively with Hamidou, Pobe’s librarian, on organization and new activities to do at the Pobe library.

After the training I met up with Dounko in Ouaga to get an update on the library’s progress as well as plenty of new pictures.

Overall, Dounko says the library is doing very well. Everyday more than one hundred people come in and out of the library to read, study, play games or do activities. The people of Pobe were incredibly kind and welcoming, and when he announced his departure two weeks later, they protested with tears in their eyes. It was very hard, Dounko says, for him to leave.

During the course of the two weeks Dounko showed Hamidou how to improve and do numerous activities including arts and crafts, reading, tutoring, theatre and storytelling.

Arts and crafts to decorate the library

The two also went together to the different schools to publicise the library and, with the younger classes, do a training on the proper care and maintenance of library books. Dounko says that very evening the library had 23 new members.

How to care for a library book; Hamidou in CP1 classroom

In April the Pobe Library will be one year old! As for the library’s overall development, three words: slowly but surely! With the addition of Pobe’s new private secondary school, the library's study room is constantly full of older students using the blackboard to practice school lessons, especially math. Trees and plants were planted out front,the ‘his and her’ latrines are nearly complete and to my absolute delight, Hamidou had a local villager paint a beautiful Reading Tree on the library wall. The Library committee met during Dounko’s visit and plan to have committee members and volunteers each donate 100 mud bricks to fix the library’s surrounding wall.

The beautiful Reading Tree; members of the Pobe library committee

There are now more than 750 books in stock, which is still not very much. With your continued donations and support we plan on buying more books, especially the titles frequently asked for by library visitors. The most popular books continue to be African Literature—books written by African authors on topics that resonate with readers.

Young readers are still asking for more educational books on topics including African culture, health, relationships, family planning and HIV/AIDS. Dounko told me how a female student approached him and explained how much having access to books on HIV/AIDS has taught her. With these books she learned the truth about the HIV virus, de-mything false facts that she once believed. “I learned so much,” she told Dounko. “It totally changed my views and gave me a new appreciation of those suffering with AIDS.”

In to the library to study...or relax and do puzzles

Because of the vast amount of visitors, there have been complaints that there is not enough time/space to conduct library activities. Hamidou has invited several people to volunteer in the library once or twice a week to help organize activities. If a particular person stands out, we’re planning on hiring him or her as an assistant who will come weekly to do activities.

Reading stories with Dounko; Hopscotch Alphabet

Our big goal is still to be able to have solar panels on the roof, so students and readers can stay at the library even after dark. Also here at FAVL, we are reaching out to individuals, organizations, etc for a great project called Adopt-a Library. With about $1,200 you can adopt a FAVL library (like Pobe-Mengao’s!) for one year. Money goes toward library maintenance, new books and organization of library activities. I will post more details about the project soon!

Pobe librarian KONFE Hamidou reading a story; Pobe's future librarian?

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