Monday, June 09, 2008

Guest-Blogger Jane Kinney Meyers: 5 + Links About Lubuto

There are many people with a grand vision. There are multitudes with grit. But precious few have both a grand vision and the grit to realize it--- in the case of my amiga, Washington DC-based librarian Jane Kinney Meyers, a unique kind of library specially geared to bring hope and enlightenment to some of Africa's most vulnerable children. So I am honored to have her guest-blogging today with the latest news and links about Lubuto. Over to you, Jane!
The first Lubuto Library is up and running well, offering many enriching programs to street children in Lusaka, Zambia. As we expected, the beautiful library based on vernacular designs has turned out to be a magnet for Zambians who have wonderful offerings for those children, who were hitherto impossible to reach. Those programs include: reading, storytelling and read-aloud; visual arts; motivational mentoring; drama and other performing arts; health & HIV/AIDS; environment; book-making; and photography in nature. Outreach workers for the library go out onto the streets and tell children about this wonderful new place that is especially for them... and they are coming in big numbers and loving what they find there.

We are now working on plans and financing for building the next 5 libraries, elsewhere within Lusaka and Zambia. And actor Danny Glover, a UNICEF Ambassador, has told UNICEF he would like to go to Zambia in support of the Lubuto Library Project. What a wonderful drama program HE can offer the street kids!

Our new website went ‘live’ recently, with a photo gallery coming soon. It is at

An 11-minute edit of the wonderful opening event for the first Library, featuring Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda reading the classic children’s book Caps for Sale, while it was dramatized by participants in our performing arts program, is on YouTube and also available through our site at

While so many positive things are happening in Zambia, we keep close ties with our friends who help vulnerable children in next-door Zimbabwe, which has recently reached an all-time human rights low. Despite the extreme difficulties there right now, Zimbabwe’s vibrant people still keep up the most wonderful website I’ve seen from anywhere in Africa, at:

I am always hitting up publishers for donations of books that we want for Lubuto Libraries, and although I’m a librarian, I haven’t kept up with developments in the publishing industry. I am once again about to head out to the annual ALA conference (where we will also make a presentation on the Lubuto Project) and to prepare to hit the vast publishers’ exhibits I found the following site with information on who owns whom in the book publishing industry useful:

I was hoping that the two Zimbabwe links could count as one so that I could throw in a link to the Internet Public Library, run by Lubuto’s good friends at Drexel University’s i-School. Prof. Denise Agosto there has been publishing information about how Lubuto Libraries are models for library services for disadvantaged youth, and others in Drexel’s library school have supported Lubuto in many ways. [But I should also throw in that we also get lots of help from libraries, library schools and students at the University of Alabama, University of South Carolina, University of Maryland and University of Pittsburgh, and others!]

---Jane Kinney Meyers

--->For the archive of Madam Mayo guest-blog posts, click here.
P.S. Please consider making a donation to Lubuto. For donations of books, also urgently needed, please check the donation guidelines here.