Thursday, July 11, 2013

28 libraries serving over 45,000 students

By Trudy Marshall
Executive Director

In reflection, I simply shake my head and think - incredible. As we have provided libraries the past 9 years, the administrators have constantly commented on the difference reading has made in concentration, expanded vocabulary, improved writing skills, and general knowledge.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who gives me a book I haven’t read.” The books are changing lives, but the continued friendships and love that are shared through LOL are changing lives as well.

The Libraries of Love volunteer team works at Bombo Road Primary school.
Texas, Illinois, and Kansas groups arrived in Uganda in June. While here, they created four new libraries, containing 12,876 books total. They also added 9,977 books to two of our previous libraries. You can imagine, it was quite a feat – putting 22,853 books in correct Dewey order, plus folding in an additional 5,000 books already received last year at our two previous schools. Top that with decorating the libraries and labeling each shelf, and you know the team probably should have gone home wearing ‘Wonder Woman’ capes. They have my highest respect for a ‘job well done,’ as is said in Uganda.

The librarian in the newly completed Mothercare Preparatory Laurel Library drew an example on the chalkboard of how to complete checkout cards.
While here, the book club at Mengo SS held a meeting with the team. As various students stood to tell about
their favorite books, love for reading shined though their faces and voices. The students shared a book that was their favorite and/or had changed their life. Some of the books mentioned were Pilgrims Progress, Matilda, Twilight, Harry Potter, Bible, Found, and a Thousand Splendid Suns. One student shared that Timothy, the librarian, also had taught them to be well spoken. BillyPaul Okumu inspired the students, speaking about how LOL is about libraries, but also God’s love for others. He challenged the students to make the most of the opportunity.

Volunteers play netball with students.
I arranged for the team to have fellowship with our Mbale headmasters and librarians. We had a great time (39 people) singing, eating, sharing personal information, and visiting. We had four solos, two by men who
will be new headmasters in 2014! What an evening! The team also had a great dinner at the Okumu residence the evening before returning to Kampala. Sitting in a circle in the yard, I know each person was thankful that God had chosen them to spend this time in Uganda.

A boy is absorbed in the first library book he borrowed.

It is all about these beautiful, deserving children.

I am looking forward to a two day meeting of our 28 headmasters (principals) in Mbale next week. It will be a time of finding new ways to encourage reading, as well as bonding as an LOL family.

At the opening of the four new libraries, a 7th grader sang a song containing the words, “Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am a life that was changed.” When I think of those words being sung, emotions come, because that says it all. May God bless our many supporters and volunteers who have changed and continue
to change thousands of lives in our beloved Uganda.

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