Library For All’s Push For Literacy In Developing Nations

Library For All’s Push For Literacy In Developing Nations

by Emma Stegman,

250 million children worldwide do not learn basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills, making illiteracy one of the greatest social challenges of our time. The consequences of illiteracy can be seen in every aspect of a child’s future, including limited income potential, poor health outcomes, personal marginalization and stifled communal economic growth. At Library For All, a New York City based nonprofit, we recognize the importance of full access to books and educational materials in improving literacy levels, student learning and teacher training and support. This need motivates us to harness the power of technology to unlock knowledge across the developing world.

Library For All is building a digital library platform to help nurture the intellectual needs of these 250 million children. This platform will deliver ebooks to students and teachers, even in low bandwidth environments, at a much lower cost than building physical libraries. Despite inconsistent internet access, the developing world has an active and rapidly growing telecommunications industry with mobile phone network coverage. The library content is therefore accessed through mobile phone networks by using low-cost devices such as tablets, mobile phones, and PCs. The books include linguistically and culturally relevant material to best engage and benefit students. In October 2013, Haitian students, teachers and parents applauded our pilot platform. Now, we are expanding to bring the digital library to 60 schools across Haiti, as well as two Sub-Saharan African countries. Our goal is to improve the lives of 5 million users in the next 5 years.

We have big dreams, but we need your help to achieve them. Library For All recently launched an innovative campaign, Six Degrees of Education, to help us reach heroes in the world of international education: key donors and influencers whose help will be invaluable in achieving our goal. Adapting the theory of “six degrees of separation,” we have selected a list of 17 heroes, from Queen Rania (of Jordan) to George Lucas (of Star Wars), whose continued support of literacy and education would help accelerate Library For All’s impact.

To get the attention of these key individuals, Library For All is harnessing the power of our network to deliver a hand-made parcel to each hero. The parcel contains a bookworm, a personalized book, and a video message with an invitation to meet. These parcels will be passed from person to person, journeying all over the world until they reach their final destinations. We want to use the power of six degrees to create a movement behind each parcel so that when they arrive, these heroes are not simply opening a pitch. They are opening an invitation with thousands of voices behind it from people who are dedicated to increasing access to education in the developing world.

This is where you come in. We are inviting teachers and education advocates to get involved in our campaign, and we want to extend this invitation to you. You can support this movement by helping pass along a parcel, following the adventures of each bookworm through social media and sharing the campaign with your friends and family.

Our mission focuses on benefitting children throughout the developing world, but we believe in empowering young people everywhere. Our Peer Advocates for Global Education (PAGE) program stresses the importance of youth advocacy and involvement within our mission of global education. PAGE partners with students from U. S.-based organizations and schools, focusing on innovative approaches to promote and celebrate literacy, cultural awareness, technological innovation, social justice, and the arts. Students who are passionate about social issues, such as global education, human rights, gender equality, and literacy, can help us make a difference, spark social change and empower their peers through PAGE. You can read more about Library For All, Six Degrees of Education and PAGE at

Join us on our journey to eradicate illiteracy across the developing world.

Library For All’s Push For Literacy In Developing Nations