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LIBRARY AID INTERNATIONAL

Assorted books on a table, mostly children's books.

Library Aid International Inc (LAI) is a Christian-based, not-for-profit, non-government organisation which provides, free-of-charge, used books and educational materials to improve literacy and educational outcomes and life opportunities for children in disadvantaged schools in developing countries.

We love introducing books to children, especially to those who would otherwise have little opportunity to access them.

To-date, Library Aid International has been able to send seven shipping containers of some 207,000 books and teacher resources to more than 450 educational institutions (early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools, technical colleges and universities) in southern Africa and Fiji. Smaller quantities have been provided to the Philippines and Myanmar.

WHAT WE DO

Books are collected, sorted, packed into a container and shipped and delivered to needy schools in developing countries

 WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

Library Aid International (LAI) has a unique, but limited, window of opportunity to source and provide children’s books to needy schools in low-income, developing countries. Changes in technology mean that the source of books in printed form will eventually dwindle as books are replaced by Internet access and electronic reading devices.

A NEW NEED GROWS

However, the need for printed materials will remain in schools in many developing countries as new technology will not be as readily available and electricity may not be available or supply may be unreliable.

THE PROCESS

Firstly, we source good discarded secondhand books and teaching resources suitable for school students from schools, libraries and individuals. Then we must check and sort the collected books and resources into categories according to education level, fiction, non-fiction, etc.

We then spend time repairing slightly damaged books. Then we pack the books and materials into suitably labeled cartons and load them into a shipping container and ship it to a developing country once financial support is raised. Our team develops a network of people in the receiving country to oversee the distribution of the cartons to needy schools. We supervise volunteers involved with achieving these objectives.

THE VISION

Linda Abblitt, wearing pink knitted top, looking towards the camera, blurred background.

Library Aid International Inc. is the vision of Linda Abblitt, from Tasmania, Australia.

Linda Abblitt, Dip.Miss, BA (Lib & Info.Sc), M.Ed, founder of Library Aid International, went to Kazakhstan in 1998 with Operation Mobilisation (OM) to set up a school library.  In 1999, political changes cancelled her plans to work in other former Soviet republics so she responded to a call from Cape Town, South Africa, where a new school was being established for street children. Besides setting up the library at School of Hope, Linda helped with teaching, administration and fund-raising.

From 2000 to 2003, Linda spent time at schools in Ethiopia, Spain and Uzbekistan. After she had set up and computerised records for each library she trained others to manage and maintain them and then moved on to the next library project. Each project took between 6-18 months. Linda has also spent shorter periods as a library consultant to schools in Uganda, Kenya, Armenia, Turkey and Azerabijan.

In 2001 at an All-Africa Educator’s Conference in Pretoria, South Africa, Linda was teaching a workshop and asked people why they had come. Every attendant said they wanted to learn how to set up a library in their school! Linda kept thinking of the phrase, Readers Become Leaders. She felt the future leadership of Africa, and similar developing countries, could be developed through books.

SUPPORT AND MEMBERSHIP

Library Aid International needs people, organisations and supporters who will share the vision for and partner in this unique project.

African children smiling at camera, two in the foreground, several in the background. Setting is probably outside a classroom.

SUPPORT

Library Aid International has the support of a group of dedicated volunteers from the community and commercial businesses. The volunteers meet regularly to sort and repack books in a friendly environment. There is always room for extra helpers.

Tremendous support is given by De Bruyn’s Transport. Boxes of books delivered to their various depots around the state of Tasmania are transported free-of-charge to a central location in Burnie. They also provide storage of books in a container in their Burnie yard and provide free transport to wharf for shipping.

Valuable support is also given by Work for the Dole placements who provide valuable assistance in sorting the many books delivered to us.

3 African men with a stack of boxed books. All three men leaning on the stack of boxes.

MEMBERSHIP

While many people take an interest in Library Aid International, they can also become a Financial Member of Library Aid International for a cost of $11 Australian per year (incl GST).  There are opportunities for members to be involved in book sorting, fundraising and in the oversight of Library Aid International.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela.