The Gebeta Children’s Library has been serving children in the Kebena neighborhood of Addis Ababa since its establishment on September 25, 2013. Open every day, and often on weekends too, the library mainly serves children from Kindergarten through Grade 7. Many are students who come after regular school hours looking for a quiet, well lit, place to study, but the library also offers a number of new programs to stimulate literacy and a love of learning among its’ users.
- Book-making programs encourage children to use their creativity to both illustrate and write stories – most often inspired by a favorite book in the library.
- Spelling Bee competitions develop the children’s confidence in their growing vocabulary.
- Read-aloud programs encourage not only adults to read to the children, but also the children to read to each other. Younger kids participate by recounting the stories that are read to them.
Another important regular community event for the Gebeta Library is ‘Family Literacy Day’. It creates an opportunity once a month for parents to spend time reading with their children. The children prepare different activities to present to their parents, such as acting plays based on stories they have read in the library and songs they have been rehearsing.
All of these varied activities have help establish a sincere interest and positive associations with books and literature among library members, and engage parents, often without books at home or experience of reading for interest. The library is no longer viewed exclusively as a place to do homework and study, but as an enjoyable and stimulating community resource.
This year, Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church from Denver, a longtime strong and engaged supporter of Ethiopia Reads, made a generous donation to cover the payment of half a year’s rent for Gebeta Library (surprisingly expensive in Addis Ababa – we are still looking for further support for the second half of the year, due in July).
Read more about our work to train librarians in order to deliver age-appropriate, engaging, and impactful programs to our constituents!