The Millennium Development Goals included an aim for all children to complete primary education by 2015 (Universal Primary Education). Although this has not been achieved in full, many countries in Africa have made great strides in their provision of primary school places. For example, over 80 per cent of primary school-aged children in Kenya are currently enrolled in school. However this means classrooms are now more crowded, there are more pupils for every teacher and books are in short supply.
Schools rarely have sufficient budget to buy books, especially as pupil numbers have increased. Although some schools have access to textbooks, additional and complementary books, such as picture books, story books and simple readers are often hard to obtain. Without these books, it is much more difficuilt for children to learn to read.
That is why we supply hundreds of thousands of books to school libraries throughout and beyond Africa each year. We supply books which will help support children’s learning and development as well as books which are brightly-coloured, age-appropriate and appealing so that children learn not only to read, but to love reading.
Many of these books go directly into school libraries, but some go to community and public libraries which run their own outreach projects for schools in their area. Nkazimulo Dube, the librarian at Edward Ndlovu Memorial Library, Zimbabwe had this to say about his library’s outreach service:
“Teachers can become closed in a box using the same textbook all the time. The book boxes open up a new perspective on the same subjects.”