A shelf full of books does not create a reading culture by itself. Without the proper training, library managers and teachers often don’t have the comprehension and tools to make their schools successful. Within the Ethiopian education system, library managers show up in brand new libraries not having grown up with books and libraries, with little training or support. Having never had this role modeled for them, they are often confused about what their role should be and feel very alone and unappreciated.
Our goal is to nurture library managers with professional development seminars that promote sustainability. We want to help them become empowered to create a library that comes to life and makes an impact. For example, a simple lending system to get books in the hands of students or creating a calm, welcoming environment can dramatically improve literacy rates.
Ethiopia Reads’ professional development seminars arm library managers with the tools to be successful in a challenging environment. Through partnerships with major institutions like the Ministry of Education, the UN Economics Affairs Council Library and library managers from some of the most prestigious international schools in Addis Ababa, we are able to provide unmatched skills-training and education. And, because we continue to monitor and assess our libraries, we fine-tune our training sessions as specific needs become apparent.
Among other principles of good literacy practice, our training sessions focus on:
- Individualized student engagement through book clubs.
- Developing critical thinking and comprehension skills while reading fiction aloud to kids.
- Showing library managers how students can begin to see themselves as authors and storytellers by making their own small books using affordable materials.
- Understanding the fundamental components of literacy, and how to translate them into teaching practice.
- Using music with patterned lyrics to teach English.
- Exposing library managers to nonfiction conventions (bold print, captions, headings, charts and diagrams for example) that assist readers in deepening their understanding of a particular topic.
- Introducing the concept of a welcoming lending system vs. a highly guarded information archive; including book care routines for students and staff.
- Colleague mentoring and hands-on practice.
- Library design and function as a means of creating a welcoming and usable space with limited resources.