Today is International Mother Tongue Language Day.Take a moment to imagine that you are a child of five or six years old in Rwanda, enrolled in elementary school. As you leave for school in the morning, you say goodbye to your mom in Kinyarwandan - your mother tongue; you meet your friends on the road and chatter away in Kinyarwandan; meandering past the market, you overhear the shop vendors bartering in Kinyarwandan; but when you enter the classroom, unfamiliar words grate on your ears. You listen intently to the teacher, straining to understand and find your way through the maze of confusing characters and words. You leaf through a tattered reading book in the same foreign tongue, donated by some long-gone stranger, a plot line you can’t follow even by the illustrations, which confound you; fair-skinned children laughing in the park, visiting a koala in the zoo.
#BluestoneForBooks: A campaign to support global literacy. Library For All has partnered up with fast-growing coffee brand Bluestone Lane to support our mission to make knowledge accessible to all, equally. “Bluestone for Books” is our campaign to drive awareness and support for global literacy through inspiring participation with individuals across the NYC community. Throughout November, Bluestone Lane stores will be serving coffee in branded “Bluestone for Books” cups. In Bluestone Lane restaurant cafes, each table will have a "Blue Book" with information regarding the initiative.
Today, our team at Library For All celebrates International Day of the Girl. We have a mission to make knowledge accessible to all, equally, and we believe that empowering girls with educational materials will help break the cycle of poverty. Books were always a huge part of my life. As a young girl growing up in the outer suburbs of southeast Melbourne, I had dreamed of being many things: an astronaut, a scientist, a journalist, a professional basketball star, an actress, Princess Jasmine. I was a bright child with an inquisitive mind, and an imagination that could catapult even the most serious personalities into a world of make-believe. Looking back, I believe that it was my love of books that propelled my mind into such artistry.
Opening the TDBank branch at 37th & Broadway came with many surprises and delights, but few as inspiring as receiving the opportunity to serve on the Board of a local nonprofit, Library For All. Midtown Manhattan has become the home of a buzzing tech sector, with eBay's offices in the 20s, reaching all the way up to Bloomberg near Bryant Park. Amidst the fashionistas and garment visionaries, sit developers, sprinkled throughout the cafes, sipping Wi-Fi along Broadway's pedestrian path, or in one of the many co-op work spaces that have sprouted up throughout Midtown. Among them sits a unique tech non-profit who envisions "a world with opportunities for all individuals to learn, dream, and aspire to lift themselves out of poverty." Library For All's mission is nothing less than to make knowledge accessible to all, equally. And from the moment I met the founders, Tanyella Evans and Rebecca McDonald, in the Echoing Green Fellowship office on the corner of 37th & 7th, I knew that this was a nonprofit, this was a tech company—errr, this was a game-changer, like no other.
The International Literacy Association (ILA), a global advocacy and membership organization dedicated to advancing literacy for all, announced Tanyella Evans, Co-Founder and CEO of Library For All, today as an honoree on its second annual 30 Under 30 list. The list recognizes the next generation of young innovators, advocates and educators who are leading efforts to advance literacy for all, whether in their community or around the world.
"Chicago Ideas supports innovators in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors who are using their work for positive social change. This year, Chicago Ideas received 250 applications from around the world for its Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship, which recognizes exceptional entrepreneurs under the age of 35, who are working to solve pressing social challenges," Chicago Ideas posted on their website.
Five fellows were selected from over 250 applicants from all over the world, including our very own CEO at Library For All, Tanyella Evans.
"Library For All is a special program that is being piloted at one of our partner schools. The kids who are part of this program are in the restavèk system; they don’t have access to books at home, nor do they really have time to focus on school as they have chores to do all day long. Their situation has a negative impact on their learning. Based on our research in psychology and pedagogy, it is important for kids to be in a good social environment that promotes learning and familiarity with books. This is why we plan special sessions where we create this environment for them. Through these sessions, we have seen Djerry*’s marked progress in reading. "
It's been nine months since the United Nations committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals"to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all." It's a 15 year window of opportunity to achieve these goals, but how do governments, corporations, nonprofits, and individuals like you and me accelerate impact in each of these areas?
For my team, our core focus is SDG 4: ensuring access to quality education for all.
To celebrate Children's Book Week this year - May 2nd-8th - Library For All is proud to highlight one of our Haitian team members, Francoise Thybulle, about the impact of books in her lifetime.
Francoise Thybulle is former Director of the Haitian National Library. Though she retired her position in 2012, Francoise joined Library For All in 2014 to lead the curation of Library For All's digital library for Haiti - a collection filled with books in Haitian Creole, French, English, and Spanish.
This year at the Leaders for Literacy Day Conference, hosted by International Literacy Association (ILA), our CEO Rebecca McDonald will share her story about why Library For All exists to deliver quality, local books to children in developing countries via a cloud-based, digital library. Today, we are pressed to think about how to best support literacy champions across the world in order to improve learning outcomes.