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Building a Library, Book by Book

We couldn’t imagine a school without a lending library, and apparently neither could scores of generous folks in OKC, who donated hundreds of new and gently used books to start La’Angum Learning Center’s newest feature. More than 1750 books are now en route to Ghana, cataloged and ready for check-out.

Suzanne Parker

Suzanne Parker

Exactly how this check-out system would work was one of our first wrinkles. No electricity meant we couldn’t use a computer-based system. Luckily our volunteer force includes librarians and teachers with long memories and great organizational minds. Led by retired Westminster School teacher Suzanne Parker, this group revisited the old, manual card system of the pre-computer era, and customized a version for LLC. Suzanne even found a deal on the cards and pockets that go in the back of each book.

In January, Suzanne and her colleagues began their work. They culled through the donated books screening for age appropriateness and good condition. Then, book-3-library2by-book, they assigned and affixed a book locator number on the spine, they glued a card pocket in the back, filled out a borrower card for the book, and entered that book on the master Excel list. No – the Excel list isn’t a cheat – there is limited power via solar panels, so a computerized master list is actually possible. This cataloging process took months, involved more than 20 volunteers and hours of work.

Once the library is set up, students will select the book they want to bring home, remove the card from the envelope in back of the book, fill out their name and place the card in the BORROWED box. The student will also mark the spot on the shelf where their borrowed book belongs with, of all things, a wooden paint stirrer – our volunteers are so clever! And yes, a large quantity of paint stirrers has been included in the shipment of books.3-book-boxes

The children know the books are coming, and are excited at the prospect of taking books home with them, showing their families their reading and English language skills, and enjoying the prospect of reading purely for pleasure. Thanks to the individuals and organizations that participated in securing books, including our own Metropolitan Library System. Participating schools included Heritage Hall, Cleveland Elementary, Casady, and Westminster: from our students to your students, Thank You!

A big THANK YOU to Mosaic United Methodist Church for giving our volunteers space to catalog all the books for our book project!

Help us…

Get the lending library up and running for the children with a gift to help pay for bookshelves ($600) or shipping ($500 for the 1,750 donated books). Any amount makes a difference. Donate today for a better tomorrow.

Learn More: What Your Donations Buy