Library project

Libraries give kids and families the opportunity to learn, experience new ideas, get lost in wonderful stories, while at the same time providing a sense of place for gathering.

- Lena Gonzalez Berrios, International Library Lead, e3kids

THE LIBRARY PROJECT

Cultivating a culture of reading

e3kids International supports libraries because they provide a catalyst for learning and a venue for collaboration, literacy and leadership development.

Our mission to equip, empower and educate youth drives our library initiatives. We know that investment in literacy, STEM education, and teacher training transforms lives and gives youth the tools to overcome the cycle of extreme poverty. By establishing libraries as vibrant learning spaces for each school community, students get excited about learning and value education. They strive toward academic excellence and invest in their local communities as mentors, leaders, and change makers. e3kids International is helping students realize their potential and make a difference around the globe.

Since 2012, e3kids International has built 2 school libraries in Mombasa, Kenya and is in the initial planning phase to build a school library in Zacapa, Guatemala. We approach these projects as partners with the schools, and customize the library program to meet their needs. In the process, we have developed a model to replicate where God opens the door.

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How do we model our libraries?

  • Build relationships and community partnerships in the school community.
  • Assess and address the needs of students, teachers and administrators.
  • Develop relevant and sustainable plans for the cultural context, facilities, curriculum and school.
  • Build out library space, train teachers, welcome the school community.
  • Enhance with STEM enrichment activities and audiovisual equipment.
  • Make the library into an active learning center for learning, training, enrichment and reading.

FAQ's

Are the e3kids library books in English or other languages?

  • The national Kenyan school curriculum is taught in English, although Kiswahili is the native language of most of the Royal Kids School students. Their libraries are filled with English language books, but Kenyan students love to learn foreign languages, too.
  • Guatemalan students are educated in Spanish, so we will be building primarily a Spanish language collection. We will incorporate bilingual and English language learning materials as well.

I want to donate books. What kinds of books do you need?

  • New or gently used for preschool-12th grade
  • Fiction and current non-fiction that is culturally appropriate and not U.S.-centric.

How do donations arrive in Kenya and Guatemala?

  • Mission team members are asked to carry personal belongings in carry-on luggage so that each person can take two 50 lb totes filled with books and school supplies. When funding permits, we pay for extra totes so that we can better meet the needs of the students. Shipping overseas is unaffordable and insecure.

What do you do with donated books that are not selected to go overseas?

  • Occasionally, items are not selected due to the content or condition or because copies of that title are already in the schools’ collection. e3kids International donates deselected items to local charities and libraries.

Who leads this project?

Lena Gonzalez Berrios

International Library Lead

Lena is a librarian with a passion for community-building, literacy and education. She is a board member and the leader of e3kids International's library initiatives, a branch manager for the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, a Rotarian with the North Stafford Rotary Club and a founding board member of the League of Women Voters of the Fredericksburg Area.

[email protected]

George Omiro

Royal Kids School Librarian

As an enthusiastic reader and lover of novels, George has served as a librarian and teacher intern at Royal Comprehensive School and is fueled with zeal and passion to create an impact in the lives of young readers and kids by nourishing their reading culture. He is currently completing a degree in Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Nairobi.

[email protected]

What have we done so far?

Starting in 2012 librarian Brenda Storms, with support from her Rotary Club, laid the groundwork for two school libraries on the Jomvu and Mikindani campuses of the Royal Comprehensive School (Mombasa, Kenya). Storms worked to transform a dorm room into a library, installing shelving and purchasing starter collections that immediately engaged students’ thirst for reading and knowledge. Over time the seeds she planted blossomed into a school-wide library program, initiated by librarian Lena Gonzalez Berrios, including an expanded collection of materials, enrichment learning activities to promote STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), teacher training and opportunities for creative expression including art and reader’s theater. Working toward a sustainable model, e3kids partnered with school administrators and young teachers to train student library assistants with the goal to increase student access, maintain library resources and provide mentoring and leadership development opportunities.

In addition to the traditional school libraries, e3Kids recognized the need to saturate the entire school environment with literacy materials and build classroom book collections for academic support. By 2017 all Mikindani classrooms have been outfitted with book cabinets and a selection of books, although there is still a need to expand the classroom library initiative to the Jomvu campus classrooms.

In Zacapa, Guatemala, e3kids is in the planning phase of developing a school library that would serve the orphanage on the Hope of Life campus and the children of Safe Haven Village. Partnering with Rotary and Hope of Life, e3kids is committed to customize a school library that will support the educational needs of the students and enrich the educational resources

Beyond our partner schools, e3kids strives to cultivate a community that values literacy and benefits from our library program. Books have been donated to an orphanage and a Shofco public library, located in the heart of the slum that many Royal students reside in. By partnering with organizations around the globe, e3kids aims to live out our mission to equip, empower and educate youth.

What do we hope to do?

  • Purchase curriculum materials in-country for each site (annual need)
  • Add additional wooden shelves (Mikindani Campus, Kenya)
  • Add classroom cabinets and books (Jomvu Campus, Kenya)
  • Install metal shelving and create an opening day book collection for Hope of Life School Library (Guatemala)

2019 marks a milestone! In honor of the 10th anniversary of e3kids international, the Library Project aims to raise $10,000 to enhance current supported libraries in Kenya and to jumpstart the school library Guatemala. Break the cycle of poverty. Put books in the hands of children!

How you can help:

  1. Sponsor a book ($10 paperback, $15 hardback) or sponsor a bookshelf (25 books for $250).
  2. Donate toward facilities improvements, audiovisual, computer and electronic enhancements.
  3. Buy e3kids International coffee blend to enjoy yourself or give as a gift. 80% of the proceeds support library projects.
  4. Donate new or gently used books.
  5. Visiting the school? Pack books and learning materials in your suitcase.
  6. Hold a fundraiser with your group such as a book drive, collect change, or spirit night at a local restaurant.
  7. Host an event for your civic, school or youth group to help us spread the word. Speakers available upon request.

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About e3kids

Kids and education are fundamental to the mission of e3kids International, a U.S. based non-profit organization that supports schools, libraries, orphan care and clean water projects in Africa and Central America. Partnering with locals in Kenya and Guatemala, we find community-based solutions to equip, empower and educate youth to overcome extreme poverty. We also promote cross-cultural service learning through school outreach, missions and volunteerism.

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