Posts Tagged ‘literacy’
Americans like me who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s (in other words–old!) are likely to fondly remember bookmobiles. In some small or rural communities, they were the only way to borrow books. Today, there are less than 1,000 bookmobiles in use in the U.S. That could be because more than 306 million people in the U.S. lived within a public library service area in 2014. And anyone with a computer or smartphone can get free access to e-books and audiobooks, as well as the printed versions, from their local library.
But in other parts of the world, it’s not so easy. In many countries, there are very few public libraries, and in some, even schools don’t have books or libraries. And with only 35 percent of the world’s population connected to the internet, there are vast numbers of people–especially children–who have no way to gain access to books. In honor of National Library Week, this post explores six visionary mobile libraries that go to great lengths to promote the love of reading and literacy throughout their little part of the globe.
Argentina: Arma de Instruccion Masiva
In Argentina, the artist Raul Lemesoff converted a green 1979 Ford Falcon purchased from the Argentine armed forces into a tank-like vehicle with enough shelf space for 900 books, offering everything from novels to poetry. Lemesoff was inspired to build his Arma de Instruccion Masiva (Weapon of Mass Instruction) as a way of counteracting fear with education. On World Book Day in March 2015, he drove around the urban centers and rural communities of Argentina, offering free books to people on the street, as long as they promised to read them.
In 1990, a primary school teacher in Colombia named Luis Soriano Bohorquez was inspired to save rural children in Colombia’s Magdalena province from illiteracy. Every Saturday at dawn, Luis sets out to 15 select villages with his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto (their names combined translate to “alphabet”). Luis rides Alfa up to four hours each way, with Beto following behind carrying a sitting blanket and more books. Children get homework help, learn to read or listen to stories and geography lessons that he prepares. Soriano started his library with just 70 books from his own collection. Thanks to donations, he now has some 4,800 books piled up in his little house in the small town of La Gloria. In 2011, PBS made a documentary film about his work, Biblioburro: The Donkey Library.Italy: Bibliomotocarro
In 2003, retired teacher Antonio La Cava realized that children in the local villages of the Basilicata region in southern Italy didn’t have easy access to books. He bought a used Piaggio Ape motorbike van and modified it, creating the Bibliomotocarro (the Library Motor Car). The small, bright blue vehicle resembles a tiny house–including a Spanish-tiled roof, a chimney, and large glass windows that display the over 1,200 books inside. There are also built-in speakers to play the organ music he uses to announce his arrival. Each month, he travels over 500 kilometers (about 300 miles) to eight different villages, where children gather in the squares to wait for him.
Mongolia: Children’s Mobile Library
Dashdondog Jamba is a children’s book writer and publisher and has translated more than fifty children’s books by foreign writers into Mongolian. His Children’s Mobile Library transports books to children in the remote regions of the Gobi desert, and throughout every province of Mongolia. Since the early 1990’s, he has faced the challenges of mountainous terrain and severe weather conditions to travel over 50,000 miles by camel, on horseback, on carts pulled by horses or oxen, and more recently, with a van. Assisted by his wife and son, they often remain in one place for several days to allow as many children as possible to read the books.
Norway: Bokbaten Epos
In a coastal country that includes many islands and islets, with remote hamlets located along the fjords, the sea is often the easiest way to reach some communities. In 1959, a group of librarians in Hordaland pioneered the concept of a floating library. At first, a refurbished tobacco cutter was used, and it was an immediate success. In 1963, a larger 85-foot boat was specially built to serve as the seafaring mobile library. The new vessel also offers cultural programs such as films, plays, puppet shows and visits with authors. Bokbaten Epos (the Library Boat) carries about 6,000 books to the residents of 150 small communities in three counties along the West coast of Norway who don’t have their own libraries.
Pakistan: Bright Star Mobile Library
When Saeed Malik returned to his home country of Pakistan in 2004 after working for the United Nations World Food Program for 35 years, he learned that most government and private elementary schools in the rural areas of the Islamabad Capital Territory did not have library services or books of their own. He founded the Bright Star Mobile Library in 2011 to introduce young Pakistanis to the world of reading and books. Four refurbished U.N. jeeps make weekly visits to about 20 elementary schools in the outskirts of the capital city, carrying over 1,000 books and serving nearly 6,000 young students.
Libraries Transform. Whether a library is on land, sea, or even donkey, those who bring books and resources to their local community are truly agents of transformation.
How are you celebrating National Library Week? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.
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Creative writing, poetry, fiction, short stories and so many other types of expressive writing are sometimes taken for granted in school when rigid educational standards and testing are prioritized. Writing, however, is a skill that goes hand in hand with reading and literacy and should be practiced in all forms including creative ones. Crafting a story from the imagination is a talent that cultivates creative thinking and should be encouraged. Whether you’re just starting to write, college-bound, working or interested in taking a writing class, opportunities are endless. You may be surprised at how many doors will open when you know how to craft stories and poetry. This summer, challenge yourself to start writing and see where it can take you. As Dr. Seuss wrote, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
Here are five wonderful places where writing can take you this summer:
1. Writing poetry can lead you to compete:
If you have an interest in writing poetry, there are contests and competitions you may want to check out. Blue Mountain Arts Poetry Card Contest is one in particular that awards you and doesn’t require an entry fee. The contest is held bi-annually and you can enter as many times as you wish. Non-rhyming verse is preferred.
2. Writing can encourage you to craft your talent:
Sometimes writing camps are good options for young writers who want to attend a program over the summer. You meet other like-minded writers and get to have your work critiqued. One such program offered by the Emerging Writers Institute allows 10th-12th graders to craft works of poetry, fiction, plays and more under the guidance of talented instructors. This particular program is housed in residence at top universities and dates are available in 2-week time-frames throughout the summer.
3. Writing can inspire you to visit the local library:
Believe it or not, your library does offer writing workshops and classes over the summer. Chances are it also offers these services year-round. Check with your local librarian to find out what writing classes and events are being offered in your hometown. Once you start writing, you may visit the library more often to find new books to inform your writing. Also check out National Novel Writing Month in November and see what you can do to prepare for it this summer.
4. Writing can take you on a travel adventure:
Sometime in the course of your education, you may get an opportunity to study abroad. Writers have many options available to them to do this. One program to consider is the Prague Summer Program for Writers which now operates as an independent entity. Being able to apply directly removes the obstacle of being enrolled at a specific university. If this program isn’t right for you, there are lots of others. Beginning a writing journey this summer can prepare you for a study abroad adventure next summer!
5. Writing can teach you about yourself:
The terms “writer” and “introvert” are often associated together. This does not mean every writer is an introvert or every introverted person is automatically a writer. The association comes from society’s idea that if you write, you are more attuned with your inner self and thus able to channel that better with words. I have learned that writing can teach you a lot about yourself and your inner voice. The more you write, the better you become at listening to what it’s trying to tell you. Let your words be your guide and you will always find your way. The New York Times op-ed “Writing My Way to a New Self” by Hana Schank provides a firsthand account of how this sentiment is illustrated by writing.
Where is writing leading you? Let us know in the comments section or Tweet us at #ProQuest!
As editors, we love to get out of the office and go to industry events! So two of us were super excited on June 26 to attend a free event hosted by the the Florida Association for Media in Education–the 2nd Annual FAME Unconference at Palm Beach Gardens High School, FL.
An unconference is a meeting that is informal and loosely structured so attendees can learn from one another on a peer-to-peer level through teaching, sharing and collaboration. This is an awesome way to learn new technologies and best practices and falls in line with FAME’s mission:
FAME advocates for every student in Florida to be involved in and have open access to a quality school library media program administered by a highly competent, certified library media specialist. FAME is a collaborative, responsive, dynamic network for Florida library media professionals.
The unconference started with us gathered as a group to shout out what we most wanted to discuss. Then we broke out into smaller groups for in-depth discussion and collaboration. Insights were recorded on poster boards and tweeted at #FAME14. No need for notes–just take a pic with your smart phone. This is our kind of note taking!
Attendees hailed from various regions of Florida and included those who oversaw elementary, middle and high school libraries. Regardless of differing locations, grade levels, and available budgets, we witnessed a group of professionals with one quality in common: a passion for their craft. They all love their jobs as the information leaders in their schools.
Because of their passion and a vulnerable school budget climate, advocacy was the most important topic of the day. When there are budget cuts in school districts, this group wanted to make sure that media specialist jobs are not cut or replaced with volunteers. As many in the group explained, the only way to ensure job security is for education administrators and legislators to be fully informed of the essential role a media specialist plays in the school. Media specialists don’t just check out books and read stories to children. A media specialist offers valuable resources and support for the classroom and curriculum, teaches students how to critically evaluate online resources, aids in transforming students into lifelong learners, and so much more.
Other topics discussed included eBooks, makerspaces, benchmarks, QR codes and success stories. A thread throughout each topic was a keen interest in acquiring the best resources for their school, and then promoting those resources so they are utilized and meet the needs of students. One example was a tip to use QR codes in card inserts in the stacks to promote eBooks. Another popular best practice was to give out necklaces where students can earn one charm per each book they read. Even in high schools, students wore their necklaces proudly.
The media specialists spent a hot summer day in South Florida and left with some hot tips they can take back to their media centers this fall. The students at their schools are very fortunate to have such dedicated educators working on their behalf!
So much can be found at your school and public library with librarians as your guide.
Every year the Young Adult Library Services Association sponsors Teen Read Week. According to YALSA: “Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users. Teen Read Week’s sub-theme for this year is Seek the Unknown @ your library, which encourages teens to explore and learn about the unknown through mystery, adventure, sci-fi, and fantasy books.”
ProQuest products are here for you as you embark on your reading adventure and provide several useful stepping stones to learn about authors and literary works. On eLibrary, Research Topics focus on science fiction authors such as Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. SIRS Discoverer features fantasy in literature and science fiction research as well as biographies of several well-known authors. For a quick read, several e-books are housed on SIRS Discoverer on the Nonfiction books feature. As a teen, read what interests and excites you. Explore new worlds in books!