August 26, 2014

Back from the IFLA World Library & Information Conference in Lyon

For 7 days Rita and I were in Lyon, France attending the 80th IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations) General Assembly. This was our first time attending, and turned out to be an incredibly interesting and informative. We were busy listening to lectures, brainstorming with other attendees, and in our spare time generating new ideas and planning ahead for our library program. It was so informative to hear what other groups are doing, especially in Africa with children’s libraries. We came out of the Conference feeling very confident about our library program and our results so far.

August 11, 2014

A Sneak Peak at the New Starehe Library

We are several versions in on our proposed floor plan as everyone’s input is taken into account (this includes size, location, and structure), but here is the working version of the Starehe library plan as of now. It’s quite a technical process that relies on the architectural drawings of the space (in CAD format) before a design layout can be rendered. The exact dimensions of every furniture piece are a must, so that there are no surprises during setup. For the Starehe library, we have several goals for the space; we needed to fit at least 20 bookshelves, seat 100 students, have 16 computer stations, and have a smart board centrally located to conduct class lessons.

August 10, 2014

A New, Modern Library Coming to Starehe Girls Center

We are thrilled to start working on a new library for Starehe Girls Center. This is our first time partnering with MPESA Foundation, where the library is a joint initiative that we are managing. For the past several months, we have been working with MPESA Foundation, the school, and Planning Systems (who manages the Master Plan of the school) to settle on the best location on the school grounds for a library. We considered both renovating an existing space (can be most cost effective, but not always) or building from scratch on new ground. We have decided on the latter, and are now finalizing the architectural drawings and interior layout. This is a process that takes the professional input of architects, interior designers, the school, and of course our Foundation. All the while, we need to remain within the boundaries of the overall budget committed. This can lead to the need for immense creativity. For example, the dimensions of the library we have settled on are considerably larger than originally planned. Thus, we need to make room for those increased costs while not affecting our final budget. We have had a lot of fun looking for ways to do this, and the end result will be, I believe, one of our most beautiful libraries to date. I was able to visit the school for their closing ceremonies before school break (photo above) and can’t wait to start working with the girls when classes resume in one month. 

August 6, 2014

A Strong Library Program Leads To Higher Scores

'Students score an average of 10-20 % higher on reading and achievement tests when their school has a strong library media program. This effect holds, regardless of other school conditions such as student-teacher ratio, overall per-pupil spending, student demographics, and community socio-economic conditions.'

Source: Gretes, Francis. “School Library Impact Studies: A Review of Findings and Guide to Sources”. Gretes Research Services.  2013. pg 5.

August 6, 2014

Architecture Books for Children

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I loved this blog post on archinect.com that lists librarian recommended books about architecture for children. We started noticing that amongst the secondary schools we donate libraries to, a considerable number of students (particularly girls) are interested in pursuing architecture for university. This led us to start including more books on the subject in secondary schools and primary schools. This list will be very helpful for us, as up until now we were only including one of the books in our collections (Young Frank Architect, shown above). I plan on ordering these ones for our next schools.

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