12 More Days!


Just a few weeks left to contribute to Thomas’s professional education! As Lubuto is committed to contributing any remaining amount needed for the coming academic year, every donation, large or small, means more of Lubuto’s funds can go towards our direct library services.

Donate here today: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-leader-for-african-libraries

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Learning About Biodiversity and Other Big Questions of Life at The Library

Library users at Ngwerere Lubuto Library have been using Wikipedia for Schools and the World Book Encylopedia (digital) for over a month now. I’ve spent some time at the library observing the use of these e-resources and interacting with users. The response to World Book and Wikipedia has been very positive. Two experiences illustrate how users are seeking information, both happened last week. First, several secondary school students were huddled around the computer preparing for their ultimate school exam. They were answering questions about biodiversity. The question in front of them was what the importance of biodiversity was. World Book has a comprehensive article on biodiversity. The article breaks down the three different kinds of biodiversity. The students were very excited to discover that there were three kinds of biodiversity discussed; genetic, environmental and species diversity. We launched into a discussion on genes before going back to the questions they had. At the end of the day, I feel that their experience was richer than it would have been if they had only a textbook.


A couple of days later, I noticed a shy looking boy typing in a question into the address bar of a search engine. I explained to him that the computers were not yet connected to the internet but were loaded with two great resources: Wikipedia and World Book. The question he had typed in was ‘Why do people grow old and die?’ I directed him to the World Book article on aging and he read it with great interest. I was very curious to know why he was asking that question. He responded that he had read it in a religious pamphlet. Why did he think people grew old now that he had read a different source? He said he believed both accounts. That people grow old because of a version of original sin and that, according to the World Book article, we grow old because of natural, biological, reasons. I’m not certain that he understood all the scientific information but I think it is a triumph that he found an alternative explanation for a question that intrigued him, a process that will likely broaden his mind and aid him in later life. I learned that this boy had come into the city recently and wasn’t attending school. The library served as a place to be and a place to learn when school wasn’t possible.


by Thomas Mukonde.

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Meet Thomas Mukonde

A video to introduce our Library Services Advisor, Thomas Mukonde. Thomas, based in Lusaka, Zambia, needs funds to earn a Masters in Library Science at the University of Illinois. Lubuto believes that supporting his professional education is the key to the future not only of Lubuto, but of children’s libraries across the continent. Please consider contributing today!




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Who Saved the Prince

Last Saturday, at Ngwerere Library, LubutoDrama members performed a play inspired by Umba Soko’s Who Saved The Prince in which a group of village elders save a prince from a big snake.who saved the prince There was a large audience of young people who enjoyed the story characterized by song and dance. The actors brought the story to life with their simple props and well rehearsed performance. Children were encouraged to read the book that the play was based on. LubutoDrama will begin rehearsing for the next performance in six weeks!

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A Leader for African Libraries


Lubuto has begun a campaign on Indiegogo to support our Library Services Advisor, Thomas Mukonde, earn his Masters in Library Science at the University of Illinois. Building local ownership and professional capacity is central to Lubuto, and crucial to improving a sustainable future for public libraries in Africa as spaces for education, community and development. Thomas is a terrific example of this leadership and ownership. Lubuto believes that supporting his professional education is the key to the future not only of Lubuto, but of children’s libraries across the continent.

Thomas joined Lubuto in November 2013, and immediately became a integral part of our team. Since joining our staff, Thomas has met and formed important new partnerships with local publishers and technological innovators, revitalized library services for teens through book clubs and movie nights, and fully embodied the holistic, supportive mission of Lubuto Libraries.

While there are many professional librarians and some library schools in Zambia, there is no coursework available in library services for children. Thomas has been accepted to the Master’s in Library and Information Science program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, giving him an opportunity to study children’s library services at the perennially highest ranked MLIS program.

While Thomas has been offered both an assistantship and small scholarship, $25,000 is still needed to support him while he earns this essential degree. This amount includes the cost of his travel to and from Zambia, living expenses, books and academic supplies, and some remaining tuition costs. Please help contribute to this amount and play a vital role in the life of Thomas, and the lives of countless youth in Africa transformed everyday by visits to libraries made just for them.

Please contribute to the campaign here. Every little bit counts!

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Youth Day at Fountain of Hope

DSC_4556Our new Regional Director, Lieke Berghauser Pont, reflects on the recent Youth Day Celebrations at Fountain of Hope.

On Wednesday March 12th, Youth Day was celebrated at the Lubuto Library at Fountain of Hope. I was asked to represent LLP and decided to bring my family along. When we arrived, we saw a large group of children walking cheerfully towards the library. At the entrance of the Library is a large flip chart sheets. Every child that enters the library writes his name in a column. Looking at the familiarity with which this was done, it was clear these children were frequent library visitors.

Inside the library, a group of thirty children were sitting in the talking circle listening attentively to Brenda reading, This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen to the children. A second group of around 25 teens came to the library to listen to the book Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, which focuses on the importance of having goals in life.

After story time, we decided to stay in the library to listen and observe the children. Their eagerness to learn made a big impression on me. At one point, one of the children, who I think was about 6 years old, came to sit next to me. He had a book with him and wanted to read the book with me. The book treated the names of a large variety of amphibian species. The various names seemed to be difficult for the child to properly understand, but his eagerness and determination to learn to read in English language was impressive.

Later, two other children came to sit next to me. One of them could already read English well. He took over my role and helped the other child continue reading. Lubuto Libraries are clearly a place where youth can both learn from and teach each other.

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“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” performance at NLL

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters performance at NLL

Lubuto library users just performed a play they have been rehearsing for 6 weeks. Today’s play was based on the popular picture book, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters. Inspired, some in the audience went into the Reading Room afterwards and started reading the book. They said they liked the story of the play. One of the actors said he enjoyed expressing himself through drama. In this picture, a scene from the early part of the play: A King, seeking a new wife, and his guards.

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