Written by Alan Taylor.
I was delighted to be back in Gondar to attend the ceremony which formally closed Link’s Library Improvement Programme after three successful years.
The Library Improvement Programme was launched in 2014 to help libraries in local schools which were often not well used to support teaching and learning.
26 schools from Gondar and the surrounding areas have taken part. School librarians received training in basic library practice (stock control, records of loans and returns) as well as better ways to use library books in lessons and to make the libraries attractive places to study.
In 2015 I helped to visit schools to assess progress. Each year they were graded bronze, silver or gold, with certificates for display in the schools. So many schools did well that in 2016 I helped to introduce an extra grade, platinum.
Now, in 2017, around 40 librarians and directors from all the schools in the programme gathered to celebrate its success. Link staff praised the schools’ hard work in building their libraries into successful parts of their school communities, and hoped they would continue to develop even outside the programme. Several people from the floor endorsed this wish, and hoped schools would budget for this.
And then it was awards time. The certificates were handed out by Ato Gashaw from the Gondar Town Education Office.
First, special effort awards were made to two schools which lack space for a library so were ineligible for the programme. Nevertheless, they have book corners in classrooms, run reading clubs, and have made books an exciting part of school life. Well done, Andinet Elementary and Kebele 03 Kindergarten. I was especially pleased with the latter’s achievement as the KG is linked to a school in my home town and I have visited it and seen how hard the staff work.
Then one bronze, four silver and an amazing seventeen gold awards were presented. And finally there were two platinum awards. One went to Atse Bekaffa Elementary, making full use of a new (Link-endowed) purpose-built library building which I saw under construction three years ago. The other went to Chechela Elementary. It was great to hear Mulu, the Chechela librarian, say that when the programme began all she knew was how to put books on shelves; now she feels as though she has graduated with a diploma!
Congratulations to them all. May they carry on to yet greater success.