Judith’s Reading Room Expands to Europe

New School Library in Albania Stocked with English Books

Students at Rakip Kocibelli Elementary School in the village of Qatrom, near the city of Korca in South-Eastern Albania celebrated the opening of their new school library made possible primarily through 100 English-language children’s books donated by Judith’s Reading Room. Today’s donation expanded the organization’s reach to Europe after its having established libraries in Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria.

Peace Corp volunteer Dennis Dias contacted the organization in August, having been referred to it by the American Library Association. Dias, based in Qatrom, spearheaded the international collaboration which included the Embassy of France, Darien Book Aid, Friends of Albania and Judith’s Reading Room. “I think this is a testament to what the people can accomplish when they work together,” said Dias. The school marked the occasion by organizing a party in the school’s new library room. Elson Barci, a teacher at the school, worked throughout the celebration checking out books to a line of impatient students. “The opening of the library is an important project for the school because it’s a good way of helping the next generation and developing capacity in the village. You can see the desire in the children’s eyes to see all these books,” said Barci.

Children decorated the room in preparation for the opening of the library with the American flag and a Judith’s Reading Room sign. Ten year old Sajmir, who stood in line for a book explained, “it’s my first time to see so many beautiful English books in one place.” An eager seven year old student approached a teacher and said, “I don’t know English, but can I take one? My cousin will explain it to me.” The faculty expects the new books will motivate students to read more and improve their English. Currently, grades three, four and five receive English lessons twice a week, and there are plans to expand English education in the coming years.

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