Sunday, August 28, 2011

Inspiring meetings with headteachers & librarians

Headteachers from Libraries of Love schools gather for meeting in Mbale.

Aug. 27, 2011 - Headteacher’s (Principal’s) Seminar: Our Kampala area headteachers arrived Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 24) and toured three schools in Mbale, spending time in each school‘s library. Thursday was a special day, as I
met with 21 of our 23 headteachers, plus two assistant headteachers (deputies). What a thrill to have them together! I shared ‘all things library’ - including organization, Dewey system, spine labels, borrowing system, shelf markers, schedules, etc. From training, each headteacher should be able to walk in his/her library and tell within minutes if students are reading consistently and if the librarian is doing an excellent job. Wilber talked about our volunteers and supporters, including the work in the States. Our first headmistress,

Jane, shared the plan for daily silent reading time, DEAR - ‘Drop Everything and Read,’ which has been successful at her school. Other speakers also shared.

The secondary and primary headteachers met in separate groups to discuss what is working well, and the challenges of their libraries. The headteachers have formed committees and plan to meet regularly throughout the year!

Librarians from Libraries of Love schools gather for meeting in Mukono.

Librarians Meeting:
Believe me, the 25 librarians that met were a hoot! Oh, my goodness! We did have a serious workshop, with great discussions about their job - the positive side, and the various obstacles they face. Classes of 100-250 students is definitely what one would call an obstacle! Low salaries because the government doesn’t fund libraries, and headteachers have to get the money from the parents - definitely a challenge! However - there were endless amazing reports of the great things happening in their libraries. During my time, I emphasized that these are Libraries of Love, which means they should be a safe haven for the kids. As I shared - if their lives are difficult, they can have joy and a smile while reading a book. If they never leave their town, they can travel around the world. They should love to read, and love their library.

A laugh:
Many of the librarians have had civil ceremonies (not church weddings), others are living with a person, and a few are single. Together they cooked up this grand scheme of having a huge Libraries of Love mass church wedding ceremony next summer! As we were introducing ourselves, and each one gave his/her name - the others would yell, “Are you a candidate for the LOL wedding?” Then they would die laughing!! The poor single people were informed they needed to find mates in time for the wedding - and that others would help them in their search! Two of the ladies want muzungu (white) husbands. They decided I should take video of them and show it to people I know!!!

On Sunday evening, before the actual librarians meeting on Monday (Aug. 22), we were together and had a wonderful 'singspiration' (Is that a word?) Three of the librarians even sang specials (2 guys and one lady), which was great! Believe me, these librarians can sing and dance the roof off - as only Africans can! It was an amazing time - truly a time of bonding!

The headteachers and librarians send their thanks for your support and love. I only wish you could meet them and understand the depth of their gratitude!

In summary:
Both meetings were a complete success.

- Trudy

Head librarians:
Irene,coordinator in Mbale; Damallie, lead Libraries of Love librarian;
Hijera, librarian trainer for Mbale; and Michael, librarian liaison to headteachers.

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