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CAIRN Libraries

The Need

  • In rural Nepal school libraries are still a rarity.
  • The few books that do exist are often locked away for safe keeping and not age or subject appropriate for school children.
  • Children do not experience the joy of reading or expanding their knowledge through the essential source of books.
  • Teachers lack the resources to teach using stimulating and vital aids. As a result, students' sole method of learning is dictation or chalkboard notes, with often inaccurate notes being written down.
  • Lack of books also hinders teachers from further enhancing their knowledge base and improving their teaching capabilities.
  • In rural communities, where literacy rates can be as low as 15%, libraries are an invaluable resource for the whole community, transcending age, gender & ethnicity.

What is The CAIRN Trust doing?

Our Aims

  • To provide children with access to books by constructing and equipping libraries.
  • To create a child centred environment that encourages the joys of reading and the wonder of learning beyond the classroom.
  • To provide an area for teachers and the communities to nurture their own intellectual curiosities.
  • To create an open door culture to libraries.

Our Approach

We implement our libraries through a tailored and structured five year programme. During the first three years CAIRN provides resources, training and support, concentrating on effective processes and procedures. In the fourth and fifth year CAIRN conducts monitoring and support to ensure that our libraries are operating at a level of efficiency that means they can be sustained by the community when CAIRN exits the programme.

Through thorough assessment, we identify the neediest schools and communities who have demonstrated the appropriate level of commitment to improving their educational situation through a library.

Communities commit to their libraries by either donating unused class rooms, providing the labour to construct the libraries, funding the librarian salaries, painting classrooms or transporting furniture.

We build sustainability into the programme by establishing Library Management Committees (LMC's). Over the five years, we guide the community to develop ownership for their library through the generation of a library fund and by encouraging them to take accountability for replacing and adding books to their inventory.

Our Library Development Officer, Balkashie Gurung works closely with communities to determine the correct library and resource offering tailored specifically to the needs of each school population. Key factors that are taken into consideration are the size of the rooms, number and type of books required.

We ensure that all our libraries are a colourful and inviting oasis fitted with essentials such as carpets and bright, low tables.

We equip our libraries with an extensive supply of age and grade appropriate Nepali and English language books.

We make learning resources including atlases, dictionaries, reference books, fiction and non-fiction and early readers, available for the first time.

We operate in clusters maximising efficiency and promoting sharing of best practices between our library teams.

Our Results

CAIRN has currently:

  • Installed 36 new Libraries into villages in the Himalayas
  • Placed over 82,000 books into the hands of children and their communities
  • Ignited a love of reading to over 13,000 pupils at school
  • Trained over 65 school staff to become effective librarians