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Posts Tagged ‘Library for All’

Ajay Singh writes about the good work of a library in Haiti that manages to do everything libraries do … except hand out books.

“When Rebecca McDonald was helping rebuild Haiti in the aftermath of its 2010 earthquake, the former construction manager witnessed … noticed that children had little or no access to books. …

” ‘I asked myself how children were supposed to get any education without books, especially given that they’d catch up with their teachers really fast,” McDonald said. An avid reader herself, the 36-year-old often shopped for books online, which led to her epiphany about the medium.

“ ‘It hit me that Haiti’s kids could use digital books,’ she said. …

“In spring 2012, McDonald met Tanyella Evans, then the Scottish executive director of Artists for Peace and Justice in charge of building a school in Haiti. Evans, 27, immediately liked McDonald’s idea, and together they set out to achieve a lofty goal: Launch a cloud-based digital library that would make books accessible to 250 million schoolchildren in developing countries around the world.

“With $110,000 raised on Kickstarter in July 2013, the duo officially established their nonprofit, Library for All. By the end of that year—thanks to Open Educational Resources, free digital titles provided by major US publishers, and partnerships with local governments and NGOs to purchase electronic devices—Evans and McDonald started their pilot program at Respire Haiti, a K–12 school on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. …

“Today, Library for All uses an Android app for low-cost tablets, PCs, and feature phones to make available a selection of 1,200 cloud-based e-books in Haitian Creole, French, English, and Spanish; many of the students had never even seen books in their native language of Haitian Creole before.” More here.

The story comes from TakePart, by way of the Christian Science Monitor feature “People Making a Difference.”

Swoan Parker/Reuters/File
Students at Julie Siskind School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, identify alphabet letters on a wall.

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