The SCOPE Library project started in 2009. It is a true partnership between poor rural Kenyan communities and SCOPE; the Kenyan village supplies the need-–and significant local investment to create a real library room–-and we supply the books.
The process is straight-forward, but not easy. Kenyan schools are rich in eager students but poor in resources. But, just as Andrew Carnegie discovered when funding libraries in America’s small towns and cities, to be sustainable both partners must be fully invested to achieve success.
When SCOPE receives a request to supply a library, it sets a process in motion. The local community, with the help of SCOPE if needed, performs a survey of the school–-its enrollment, the physical layout of the building and other relevant factors. The school must decide whether to repurpose an existing room or to build a new facility as a dedicated library. It must also commit to funding the furnishing of the library with tables, chairs, shelving, windows and a sealed floor. These are not trivial decisions for a poor community. Nor are these the only costs that the school must bear, as will be described below.
SCOPE, for its part, maintains a broad system for collecting and receiving gently used books. Our extensive network includes public libraries, schools, service organizations, churches and individuals. In our donated warehouse space, teams of volunteers of all ages sort, repair and pack books for each school. Books are organized by appropriate categories: Lower-grades fiction, upper-grades fiction, and non-fiction for all primary school ages. Each school receives at least five books for every student.
SCOPE solicits funds to cover the costs incurred at the U.S. end to sponsor each school library. These costs-–repair and packing materials, overhead and supplies, shipping and clearances–are approximately $2000.00 per library.
At its warehouse, SCOPE packs, weighs and places books on pallets. The pallets are shrink wrapped and readied for shipping. Most books are shipped in 40’ international containers. The containers travel by truck, rail and ship to Kenya, where they are received at a central location. The recipient school sends its own vehicles to transport the books to the library. Once the books are on site, SCOPE provides advice through workshops on library organization, management and use.
SCLT (School Community Leadership Team) at training, assessing community needs