International Literacy Day 2017: Literacy in a Digital World

International Literacy Day 2017: Literacy in a Digital World

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Tanyella Evans is co-founder & CEO of Library For All.

Tanyella Evans is co-founder & CEO of Library For All.

Did you know that the world’s poorest households are more likely to have access to mobile phones than to toilets or clean water?

It’s true – 8 in 10 individuals living in developing countries own a mobile phone, and mobile penetration rises year over year. (World Bank, 2016)

We live in a time where people living on less than $1.25 USD per day have access to a mobile phone, representing a huge opportunity to reach the world’s poorest people with critical services to improve literacy. The UN’s theme for International Literacy Day of “Literacy in a Digital World” shines a spotlight on this potential.

Literacy is key to changing the lives of the 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty. Literacy opens the door to lifelong learning, allowing individuals to earn higher incomes, raise healthier families, and build stronger communities.

If we want to eradicate extreme poverty for a billion people in our lifetime, we must provide books and learning materials to the millions who are illiterate – an overwhelming 750 million adults and 263 million children. Access to relevant, language appropriate books is critical to ensuring individuals are given the opportunity to achieve basic literacy skills.

When I was 17, I volunteered as a teacher for a year in Uganda, and it was a year that changed my life. At the school where I worked, books were so scarce that they were kept under lock and key in the principal’s office. I had just one textbook to teach a class of 40 students. Each day, I would transcribe our lesson on the chalkboard, and after class, the students I taught were so eager to learn that they would beg me for homework.

At a young age, I saw firsthand how easy it might be for individuals in developing countries to fall short of functional literacy, even after attending school. And unsurprisingly, in accordance with illiteracy rates, as much as 40% of the global population does not have access to books in a language they speak or understand.

"When I was 17, I volunteered as a teacher for a year in Uganda, and it was a year that changed my life. At the school where I worked, books were so scarce that they were kept under lock and key in the principal’s office. I had just one textbook to teach a class of 40 students."

"When I was 17, I volunteered as a teacher for a year in Uganda, and it was a year that changed my life. At the school where I worked, books were so scarce that they were kept under lock and key in the principal’s office. I had just one textbook to teach a class of 40 students."

We believe technology is a powerful, equalizing force in the face of of such a massive illiteracy crisis: through widespread technology, our mission is to make knowledge accessible to all, equally.

My team at Library For All has built a global digital library platform that houses content curated for communities across the developing world. Today, individuals in countries like Haiti and Rwanda can access reading material via our digital library using devices they already own (i.e. mobile phones and tablets).

Our vision is to provide every student and family in the developing world with access to a high quality, digital library of reading materials, providing them with the tools to learn, dream and aspire to lift themselves out of poverty.

This International Literacy Day, we invite you to support literacy in a digital world today and every day by making a monthly gift to Library For All. Every $10 will provide one child access to our digital library for a full year.

Sony DADC Announces eBook URMS Partnership With Global Nonprofit, Library For All, To Bring Digital Library To Developing Countries

Sony DADC Announces eBook URMS Partnership With Global Nonprofit, Library For All, To Bring Digital Library To Developing Countries

NEW YORK, Sept. 7, 2017 / PRNewswire / -- In time for International Literacy Day, Sony DADC announced its partnership today with global nonprofit Library For All. Based in NYC, Library For All curates and distributes a customized cloud-based, digital library platform to children and adults living in developing countries where physical books are scarce but mobile devices are widespread. Library For All's digital library is filled with culturally relevant eBooks licensed or donated from local and international publishers.

Women of NYC Tech: Tanyella Evans, Library For All

Women of NYC Tech: Tanyella Evans, Library For All

Much has been said and written about the lack of women in the tech sector, be it as investors (or associates), founders, or in management positions at major companies. Is the problem the old boys network – or that success in technology is seen as a young man’s game?  In this series, we speak with some of the top women in tech in New York as they discuss the challenges they face, the perceptions that need to be changed and the work that’s being done – or not – to help to promote women.

Today we speak with Tanyella Evans, cofounder and CEO at Library For All, a nonprofit building a cloud-based digital library and platform for communities in the developing world. Tanyella has worked in social entrepreneurship and international development, focusing specifically on education and culture. Using her experience as an educator in some of the poorest communities, Tanyella has established a much needed school in Haiti and continues to provide necessary educational tools and resources to the world’s indigent communities. Tanyella is active in the NYC tech ecosystem and is doing her part to strengthen communities in a booming tech city to the poorest regions.

Library For All featured on PIX11: Changemakers

Library For All featured on PIX11: Changemakers

CHELSEA, Manhattan — Some 250 million children worldwide lack access to books and basic education. In countries like Haiti, 85 percent of schools don't even have a library, but the nonprofit Library For All is changing the game."We exist to make knowledge accessible to all equally," co-founder Tanyella Evans said. "We believe that in the 21st century access to knowledge is a basic human right."

Rwanda's Umubano Primary School embraces Library For All

 Rwanda's Umubano Primary School embraces Library For All

At A Partner in Education, we have successfully carried out international campaigns to collect books to send to Rwanda, where children in British, French and American establishments have donated second hand books to be enjoyed by students at Umubano Primary School. But what happens when the students have finished those books or when they want to access materials outside of term time? In a rapidly developing country, where most of the parents of our students now have a smart phone, we need to start thinking outside the book and consider some digital alternatives.

Community Stories: Gwen Tilghman & Lauren Hoffman, International Women's Day

Community Stories: Gwen Tilghman & Lauren Hoffman, International Women's Day

This International Women's Day, Library For All is proud to announce our campaign to build our Library's first specialized Girls' Collection, starting in Haiti. "Let Haiti Read: Girls' Collection" is spearheaded by supporters Gwen Tilghman and Lauren Hoffman. The article below was originally posted here in Yale News.

Studies have shown that males are represented nearly twice as often as females in books for children. Now Yale alumnae aim to empower girls around the globe through the creation of the Library For All Girls’ Collection.

Celebrating The Mother Tongue: 3 Ways to Stimulate the Global Supply-Chain of Mother Tongue Content

Celebrating The Mother Tongue: 3 Ways to Stimulate the Global Supply-Chain of Mother Tongue Content

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

#BluestoneForBooks: A campaign to support global literacy

#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.

Community Stories: Taniya Benedict, International Day of the Girl

Community Stories: Taniya Benedict, International Day of the Girl

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.