Lessons From Lubuto by ProQuest


While budget trimming and economic unrest may be causing a collective angst for many industrywide, Jane Kinney Meyers is keeping a spirit of giving alive this season. If her name sounds familiar, here's why: Meyers received a standing ovation at the 2007 SLA conference in Denver when she won the 2007 Dow Jones Leadership Award for her work as president of the Lubuto Library Project. In the Bemba language spoken in central Africa, "Lubuto" signifies knowledge, enlightenment, and light. And true to form, Meyers' goal is to build at least 100 libraries in Zambia and surrounding countries in the next decade. And progress continues to pave the way for future Lubuto libraries in Zambia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                       www.infotoday.com   December 2008

Lessons From Lubuto                                                                                                 offices offered to help collect
                                                                                                                    books for the library, Meyers
                                                                                                                    reached out to Jewell Stod-
                                                                                                                    dard, a world expert in chil-

            hile budget trimming and                               in Lusaka, Zambia, bringing a bit of cul-        dren’s literature who is on the
            economic unrest may be caus-                           tural heritage back into the countryside         advisory board and in charge
            ing a collective angst for many                        and books to the hands of the country’s          of the children’s section of
industrywide, Jane Kinney Meyers is                                most vulnerable children. The library is         an independent bookstore in
keeping a spirit of giving alive this season.                      actually a series of three thatched-roof         Washington, D.C. As a result,
In fact, her “season” lasts year-round for                         buildings that reflect the traditional Afri-     Dow Jones and the Politics
Africa’s street kids, many of them or-                             can architecture. The library consists of        and Prose Bookstore & Cof-
phaned in the HIV/AIDS crisis.                                     a small foyer-type building, along with a        feehouse teamed up to sup-
    If her name sounds familiar, here’s                            4,000-book library/reading room and an           ply books with an education- This photo was taken by Ron Kaplan when he visited the first Lubuto Li-
                                                                                                                                                      brary at the Fountain of Hope on July 3, 2008. He writes: “The young boy
why: Meyers received a standing ovation                            arts/crafts room. Meyers calls it a “full-       al spin for Zambia’s street
                                                                                                                                                      in the picture spends every afternoon ‘working’ at the library as a young
at the 2007 SLA conference in Denver                               service” facility, providing education and       kids, orphans, and at-risk assistant—he knows every book and makes sure they are all in order. He
when she won the 2007 Dow Jones Lead-                              information, along with a safe, commu-           children.To adhere to Meyers’ obviously loves being there.”
ership Award for her work as president                             nity space where kids can socialize.             strict standards, the book-
of the Lubuto Library Project.                                         Meyers is now busy building two new          store has a database that can
    Since then, the first Lubuto library                           libraries concurrently in Zambia that            now process orders for Dow
was officially opened on Sept. 21, 2007,                           will be completed in 2009: One is in the         Jones’ employees with titles
                                                                   southern province village of Nabukuyu,           that range from fiction and
                                                                   which is being funded in part by a $10,000       nonfiction to graphic novels
                                                                   grant from Oprah’s Angels Network and            and poetry. “We can keep the
                                                                   the $20,000 Challenge Grant offered              quality high and maintain a
                                                                   by patron and advisory board member              wish list for what books we
                                                                   Marilyn Hollinshead.                             want,” says Meyers. “That
                                                                       The second will be built at a yet-           way, we don’t end up with 10
                                                                   undetermined site in the Garden Com-             copies of the same book.”
                                                                   pound in Lusaka, thanks to corporate                 Meyers, who is based in
                                                                   sponsor Dow Jones & Co. “On Monday,              Washington, D.C., heads the
                                                                   Oct. 6, I received a call from Clare Hart        U.S. operations base for the Kids gather in the Lusaka library reading room around the “talking circle.”
                                                                   who said Dow Jones was offering funds            501(c)3 public charity, while
                                                                   to build a library,” says Meyers. “The news      architect Eleni Coromvli di-
                                                                   couldn’t have come at a better time.”            rects the team’s regional office
                                                                   Other library sites are also in the works.       in Lusaka, which is registered
                                                                   “We’re also working with the University          as a nongovernmental organ-
                                                                   of San Francisco’s community architec-           ization in Zambia. This year,
                                                                   tural school to create a semester-abroad         funding to help support the
                                                                   program,” says Meyers, who is still final-       Lubuto Library Project has
                                                                   izing the details. “With the program, the        continued to unfold with be-
                                                                   students would construct a library as well       
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