Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FEATURED SWEETHEART: Trudy Marshall & Libraries of Love

This week's Featured Sweetheart is someone who is going so far above and beyond the call of duty to get books in the hands of kids. And best of all, I get to see her all the time seeing as how she's the librarian at my kids' school, Laurel Mountain Elementary!

Here is Trudy Marshall in her own words about her non-profit organization, Libraries of Love.


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Libraries of Love – Mission:

The purpose of Libraries of Love is to partner with Africans to create libraries in individual schools. Through reading, students will develop a love of literature, as well as strengthen their knowledge in each curriculum subject area. Lifelong readers become lifelong learners. Therefore, the libraries will serve as bridges to a better future for the children of Uganda.

Background ( Trudy Marshall – Founder/Director):

"If you can arrange a mud hut in which I can stay, I’ll go to Uganda,” was the email I sent to Rev. Robert Johnson, my former pastor.

Robert emailed me back that he had arranged it and jokingly said the owner’s wife would probably even let me milk their cow. My goal as I prepared to go in 2001 was to stay in Ugandan homes, since I wanted to truly experience the African culture. Three Ugandans who were living in Austin very generously arranged places for me to stay and visit in Kampala, the capital city. The kindness of the families I spent time with, as well as many other Ugandans, still touches my heart. When people who have very little are generous and welcome you into their homes, it changes your outlook on life.


While in Kampala, I visited Namirembe Primary School. A family I spent quite some time with had children who attended this school. The students and staff were delightful. I enjoyed visiting in many classrooms, as well as with the teachers and administrators. As I visited with students, many asked if I could possibly send them books from America. Those words would run through my mind many times in the next few years – resulting in the nonprofit organization, Libraries of Love.


Creating Libraries:

Books are extremely valuable in Uganda, because they are few. For students to be able to check-out books and take them home, an organized library must be established, and the staff and students need instruction on how to use their library to its fullest potential, and maintain it for future generations.


Libraries of Love does the following:

  • Collects new or very gently used books
  • Types and places spine labels on the books
  • Places a card and pocket in each book with the correct labels needed for check-out
  • Ships in February
  • Takes teams in June to Uganda
  • An empty room is provided by the school. Volunteers build bookshelves, organize thousands of books, and prepare a beautiful, inviting, organized library.
  • Throughout the year, Libraries of Love arranges for librarian meetings to take place and provides any supplies needed.


Present Libraries:

Libraries of Love now has libraries in nineteen public schools in Uganda, serving 25,000 students. Each library is a lifetime commitment for those involved with Libraries of Love. Volunteers and Board members return to each school during the summer. Contact with the librarian and administrator is maintained throughout the year, and libraries are restocked as books are lost or damaged.


Rewards:

Those in Uganda always thank the volunteers for blessing them with a library, but it is truly the volunteers who are blessed. It is hard to imagine that many of the students in Uganda have never held a book. There truly aren’t words to describe the excitement and beautiful, huge smiles as students stand in the doorway and outside the windows at each school and watch their library come together. It is an honor to serve, changing lives through literature for students who have so little – but deserve so much.


Needs:

Books, funding (shipping is the largest expense), and volunteers are continuing needs of Libraries of Love

Website / Contacts:

www.librariesoflove.org
Trudy Marshall is available for speaking engagements.


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Please email us your nominations for featured sweethearts.

2 comments:

  1. What a great choice for a Texas sweetheart. This is such a great charity.

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  2. Thanks, Natalie! It really is an amazing charity!

    ReplyDelete