A library, like a yard, sometimes needs a good weeding (but for very different reasons). Unlike unwanted garden trimmings though, books that are no longer needed can be recycled and continue to serve their much-needed purpose elsewhere.
For years, SMUS librarians have partnered with the Victoria-based charity FACES Network Society (Family and Community Education Support) by donating books that have been weeded out of our school libraries, to stock the shelves in libraries and learning centres in inner-city Davao City, Philippines.
Recently, Sarah Craig, teacher-librarian at the Middle School, sent out 10 boxes of non-fiction books to FACES.
“We packed up all the National Geographics, thesauri and dictionaries we had. We don’t use those anymore because they’re all online. I think some of them have been sitting on the shelves here for five, six years and never been pulled out. Instead of throwing them out, there’s a huge need for them in the Philippines, so those books are rejuvenated there,” Sarah says. “That works with our idea of fighting poverty through education and using local resources. Once the books arrive, it’s local university students who use them and teach impoverished children how to speak English and use the books for their education.”
It was teacher-librarian Diana Nason at the Junior School who first started this partnership a few years ago.
“It’s such a good cause. We try and donate every year, because they love to get children’s books,” Diana says. “They’re all still wonderful books, and I’m glad we could find a home for them where there was a need.”
FACES has spent the better part of a decade working in the Philippines to build a gymnasium/community centre, a computer lab and a library. In addition to providing the learning material to impoverished youth, the charity has also sponsored children for poor families, enabling them to attend school.
Two years ago, much of the work FACES had done in inner-city rural communities was destroyed by devastating typhoons that struck the Philippines. Since then, the organization has decided to build a FACES Community School, which will include a complete school library – this recent Middle School donation will help fill the shelves there.
Sarah says Middle School students have helped her with the donation process by going through the library catalogue to remove donated books from the system and packing the books into boxes. She says another donation to FACES will likely happen at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year – this time fiction books – and she’ll have students help her select which books they want to see go to a great home in the Philippines.
“It’s such a wonderful organization and such a worthwhile initiative to be able to support students not just here at SMUS, but in the Philippines as well,” Sarah says.
Situated in southeast Asia, the Philippines is south east of Hong Kong and directly east of Vietnam. Barangay Sampaguita is located on eastern Mindanao (large southern island) about 3 hours drive north of Davao City.
You can learn more about the FACES Network Society at facesnetwork.ca.