Time Out Shanghai: Get involved – The Library Project

For Tom Stader, founder of The Library Project, the way to improve education for rural students is to keep it simple. So he inexpensively provides libraries for small schools.

The Library Project has built 225 libraries from scratch in the past four years for remote and resource-poor schools serving small populations (between four and 100 students). TLP provides these schools with a library—bookshelves, books, tables, chairs, globes and painting supplies for the kids to brighten up the classrooms together.

“It’s a huge boost to the kids’ education,” says Stader. “Some kids want to read about dinosaurs and rocket ships. Books can speak a language that kids get excited about.” Partnering with the Xi’an Charity Association, The Library Project’s focus is small elementary schools and orphanages in earthquake-affected Sichuan and throughout China. Stader says his organization keeps the prices low so they can have a greater impact. “Libraries are really cheap—between 5,000 and 8,000 RMB—so it’s very easy for people to make a difference.”

How you can help:
Volunteers can adopt a school of their choice and organize fundraising events. After adopting a school, volunteers can visit or see photos of the library in use. For a first-hand experience, TLP also needs energetic volunteers to trek out to recipient schools, help unpack and set up all the library supplies and introduce them with games.

The Library Project has big goals to build another 125 libraries in 2010. To see their results, plans and opportunities, visit the organization’s phot and info-packed website at www.library-proect.org. Those interested in volunteering can contact Jocelyn@library-project.org.