Press contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022

November 18, 2008

Lubuto Library Project in Africa is Subject of Dec. 3 Lecture

Across sub-Saharan Africa, where the HIV/AIDS epidemic is most severe, a growing number of orphans are heading their own households. In 12 African countries, it is projected that by 2010, 15 percent of all children under the age of 15 will be orphans.

To bring literacy and hope to Africa’s vulnerable children, Jane Kinney Meyers founded the Lubuto Library Project. Meyers will discuss the goals and accomplishments of the project at the Library of Congress at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 3 in the Pickford Theater, located on the third floor of the James Madison Building at 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture, sponsored by the African Section of the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

Lubuto is a word in the Bemba language, spoken in central Africa, that signifies knowledge, enlightenment and light. In that spirit, the Lubuto Project was created to provide the burgeoning numbers of Africa’s street children with opportunities for non-formal education, improved language and literacy skills, acquisition of general knowledge and participation in society. Simply stated, the project brings the simple pleasure of books to children who are alone in the world.

With a collection of 4,000 items, the first Lubuto Library opened its doors on Sept. 21, 2007. The project was recognized as the "gold standard" of international library projects at the 2008 American Library Association annual conference in Anaheim, Calif. For more information about the project, visit www.lubuto.org.

Meyers is a professional librarian with 20 years of experience working and living in Africa. While living in Malawi for four years, she developed a network of research libraries for the country’s Ministry of Agriculture under the auspices of the World Bank. Ten years later she returned to neighboring Zambia, where she worked on projects for the American Library Association and Johns Hopkins University. While there, she became involved with services to street children offered by the Fountain of Hope, a drop-in shelter in Lusaka, Zambia. Serving on the shelter’s board, she established a reading program and created a library for the children. Upon her return to the U.S. in 2001, she developed the concept, approach and organization of the Lubuto Library Project, based on the success and impact of the library in Lusaka.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world’s knowledge in almost all of the world’s languages. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its Web site at www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at myLOC.gov.

The African and Middle Eastern Division furthers this mission as the Library’s center for the study of some 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. For more information on the division and its holdings, visit www.loc.gov/rr/amed/.

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PR 08-218
11/18/08
ISSN 0731-3527

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