Saturday, July 04, 2009

Bingerville Update

Wow! Time has flown! At the moment, I am back in the states, reflecting on this past year, and gearing up for the next, and I realize, it has been several months since my last report. So here is a summary, with pictures just added....

Networking the Library at Bingerville
After the Women's History Month event at Grand Bassam Orphanage for Girls, things went back to normal. I've continued working with Bingerville every week, and a lot has been happpening.

First up, back in April, TPIOT Interactive got busy. First they created a server for the network using one of the donated computers, and then we worked with some of the students to lay wiress so we could networka c omputer into the library.

So now the librarian is able to work on her catalog from inside the library, which is much more convenient and enables her to do this work during library hours.

Cataloging with Book Covers

The librarian, Jocelyn, is really inspired by all of this activity and attention, and her library shows it. Every time I go there, the room is packed with young people, and she's added new tables, spruced up the shelves nad reorganized them.

The new titles are set aside and guarded, and they are trying to decide the best approach to lending for their needs. Currently, they haven't got a check out procedure in place, and are considering how they can manage this. One idea is to have students read the books in the library, rather than taking them to their dorm beds, since students do not have much privacy or a safe place to store their things. There is concen about the books disappearing, and so they are also considering posting a guardian at the entrance.

Jocelyn has really taken to the task of cataloging.
Throughout April and May, we practiced entering data, her last lesson revolved around adding images to her catalog. It's pretty simple - she searches for the title, copies the cover image, and pastes it into the catalog record. Hopefully, she'll make a lot of progress this summer, even though I am back in Jersey.

More Books for the Food for Thought Drive

Meanwhile, back in March, the French Department at ICSA also hosted a fundraiser for La Semaine Francophone, and they raised about 100,000 CFA - that's about $200 - to purchase books for the library collection.

So, in May we also purchased more books - mostly picture books, some reference materials, and a few middle school/YA favorites.

Although the students weren't there when we made the delivery, the came by a little later, and you should have seen the smiles!

They really loved seeing all of the new titles. It was really satisfying to watch.

The Ambassador Pays a Visit!
It has been an amazing year with so many wonderfull moments, but I have to say, one of the highlight of the last few months was when Wanda Nesbitt, American Ambassadorto Cote d'Ivoire, decided to pay us a visit! Here's how it happened...

On May 30, the seniors at ICSA graduated, and among them was Rachel, the senior and president of our InfoPros for Peace Club. As the Ambassadors spoke of the accomplishments of all the senior students, she applauded Rachel for her spirit of giving and her contribution to the Bingerville project. (If you remember she was really the one responsible for getting the school 30 additional computers from the Korean Embassy. )

That was wonderful to hear, but even better, afterwards, Ambassador Nesbitt came to speak with me, and asked me about the project. She was so intriqued by what she was hearing that she asked if she could just drop by and see what it was all about. Well, you can guess that I was excited, and I said "Sure! I go there every week!"

Well, knowing that I was about to leave the country for the states, and uncertain as to when and if I'd be back, I figured I ought to make an attempt to solidify that connection. So, a couple of days later, I emailed her to remind her I was going that Thursday. I wanted to make sure she kept us in mind, and let her know I hadn't forgotten the discussion. I never expected that she might be able to do it on such short notice, but I figured, what the heck. . Low and behold, the next day I received a response! She said Yes! She was going to come that Thursday! And, indeed, she did make it! She showed up at about 4 that afternoon, and we took her on a tour of the grounds, the computer center, and the library. It was amazing! We can only hope that the connection will be the first of many, the beginning of new opportunites and growth for Bingerville.

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