Start a library is a corporate social responsibility campaign initiated by Storymoja as a key pillar to drive a reading revolution in Kenya. We believe that a reading nation is a smarter nation. Reading widely is especially important as we now live in a globalized world where knowledge is the key driver for economic and social development.
Storymoja is a publishing company based in Nairobi that was founded by five writers. Our vision is to get a book in every hand. We publish East African authors and a few international authors whose books tell the African story particularly well.
Storymoja also runs Africa’s largest book festival, and organizes writing workshops and national read aloud events. On the day of the African child in June 2015, Storymoja led 229,043 children in breaking a world record in reading!
Start A Library is a Reading Revolution campaign that increases children’s access to books by forming or stocking libraries in Public primary and community schools in Kenya, and excites them about reading for pleasure through our Read Aloud events and Reading clubs. Start a Library also invites influential Reading Ambassadors to act as role models for reading
Did you know that there are more than 20,000 Kenyan primary schools without libraries?
We work with partners to achieve our mission of empowering children with books. Individual and organizations can sign up to;
Through our non-profit arm, RAAW Trust, Storymoja won a 2015 YETU grant to pay for publicity to fundraise to start libraries in schools.
You can help in different ways:
Your donation qualifies you for a brick on the Start a Library Wall of Fame. The bricks are colour coded to show recognition for different levels of donation. Donate any amount to star in the Start a Library Wall of Fame. Get your friends to contribute in your name and climb the colour-coded donation wall of fame!
Donate whole library to star in the Diamond Wall of Fame. Form a group of friends to contribute one name and climb the colour-coded donation Wall of Fame!
To donate more libraries or bulk number of books, please contact us directly. Thank you for making it possible for even the poorest children in Kenya to read storybooks. Storybooks are a remarkable class room!
Few children ever see adults reading books for pleasure. Children do what they see adults do. So our nation’s children really need adult role models for reading. Join our Reading Ambassadors network and become an advocate for reading.
As an advocate and role model for reading, you can help drive the reading revolution in five practical ways:
Donate children’s books or the funds to purchase age-appropriate culturally relevant books for libraries in schools.
Network – Share your contacts with us or arrange meetings with individuals, organizations and institutions who can support Start a Library’s vision of getting a book in every hand.
Time - Donate time to Start a Library by participating in events such as:
Skills and talents - From time to time, Start A Library needs expertise and skills ranging from Library Management to Strategic Planning. Whatever your professional background, we would love to hear from you.
And of course, talk about #startalibrary.
In addition to the deep satisfaction of helping nurture a reading culture among our children, you will also enjoy get:
Thank you for inspiring even the poorest children in Kenya to read storybooks. Storybooks are a remarkable class room!
Storymoja challenged the First Ladies of Kenya to compete to see who can start the most libraries in their county. Already, the First Lady of Kitui is marching ahead with a container load of 20,000 books from international donors to start libraries in three wards of the county. With funds raised through the Yetu Start a Library campaign, we will match those books with local, age-appropriate culturally relevant books.
With the help of international partners helping with the Yetu campaign, like PACT and Book Aid International, Start a Library will run a special training programme this year for First Ladies on media and advocacy, resource mobilization, as well as library and book club management so they are armed and ready to become effective reading ambassadors from the grassroots to the national and even international level!
Donate to one of these First Ladies to start libraries in primary schools in their counties and help spread the knowledge that regular reading of storybooks will increase children’s literacy.
The national Storymoja Read Aloud is the largest gathering of Kenyan children reading together from the same text at the same time. We do it bi-annually; the last Friday of every January and on The Day of the African Child in June.
Storymoja has been formally recognized by the Ministry of Education as a literacy actor/partner for its work in promoting the reading culture in schools and beyond through its national read-aloud events, book clubs, book festivals, career planning workshops, creative writing workshops, publishing of child writers programme, and the Start a Library project.
We donate 1,000 books of different genres (types) that are appropriate for the different year groups in each primary school. We ensure that at least 60% of the books are local content so that children see their world mirrored and endorsed in stories.
No. It is more economic for Start a Library to concentrate on addressing the fundamental need - books. And most schools have limited space available for a library. We ask schools to put up shelves in any available, secure space in the school, like a principal’s office or big cupboard. (see link to photo)
However, some wonderful partners we’ve worked with have generously donated containers to start some libraries. We welcome any partner who’d like to donate physical libraries to contact us directly.
Yes. Although most schools have limited internet availability or digital gadgets, we accept that e-books will play an important role in future. We particularly welcome donations of $6,500 to deliver Worldreader blue boxes that contain 50 kindles with 100 titles each to start libraries in schools.
Although our main focus is primary schools, we sometimes receive donations more suitable for ECD or secondary school libraries so have stocked a few ECD centres and secondary schools as well.
Each library costs KES 735,000 or $ 7,350 to set up. This includes the cost of research, sorting, packing, delivering, installation ceremony, training and monitoring use of the library.
To ensure that the libraries are regularly used, we train teachers how to manage the libraries and how to run read-aloud book clubs during the designated 35 minute weekly library lesson.
It is important that parents encourage their children to borrow and read storybooks so we will also make a presentation to a PTA or Board of Management meeting at each school as part of the grassroots advocacy campaign. We also encourage parents and/or teachers to sign off each review pages in the book diaries to know what and how much their children are reading.
We gratefully accept donations of children’s books if they are in good condition and delivered to the Storymoja office or to our events for sorting.
We gratefully accept international donations of children’s books if they are in good condition. However, the cost of shipping and custom clearance is so high that we urge donors to send the books to international organizations who can cover the costs for bulk delivery to the Storymoja office.
We acknowledge receipt of every donation and publish a sliding total of donations received on our site. We also publish details of the location of upcoming libraries and welcome donors to accompany us to the installation ceremony.
You will get a chance to verify the books, talk with the teachers and pupils. If for any reason you cannot make it to the school during installation, we will take pictures and share them with you!
We work mainly with public primary school and low cost community/complementary schools. Schools also get in touch with us requesting to be part of the program. Sometimes, the public gets in touch with us nominating a school to benefit. Then, we either visit the school physically to evaluate its needs or the school fills out an evaluation form and sends them back to us.
To partner and benefit from start a library, the school must agree to join the Reading Revolution campaign by signing an agreement that allows the following:
Yes! To add your school to the list of potential beneficiaries, nominate your school here. If you wish to give a donation to your school of Ksh 50,000 or more, we will schedule a meeting with you to see how to make the dream a reality sooner rather than later!
Our focus at present is on starting libraries in schools. However, if you community library has the management to run it and basic infrastructure, and you are prepared to make a donation of Ksh 50,000 and above, contact us.
On 5th December 2016, RAAW Trust through the Start-a-Library initiative will launch its second campaign to get books into public primary schools. Called ‘Gifts that Matter,’ the campaign will run between the 5th of December and the 31st of December 2016 and will encourage Kenyans to donate books to public primary schools.