Judith’s Reading Room Library Opens in Polenë

On Wednesday, December 19th 2012, Judith’s Reading Room opened its second library in Albania in the historic village of Polenë, outside the city of Korçë. At the primary school there, teachers and students spent the last day of school before the winter break, organizing books and setting-up the English language library. The library will be used to help improve students’ reading skills. The school in Polenë serves about sixty students enrolled in all grade levels from kindergarten to ninth grade, and has a staff of eight teachers. Children have English classes two to three times a week starting in third grade.

In addition to enjoying a visit from Santa Claus, children at the school were able to spend some time looking through the school’s new library which included many interesting titles requested by the teachers. The children made signs expressing their love of reading, and were excited to finally receive the shipment of books. They were happy that Judith’s Reading Room was able to provide them with the books. Dennis Dias, a local Peace Corps Volunteer who coordinated the event, helped teachers distribute books to the children.Judith's Reading Room in Polenë

[note color="#b5a66b"]Please check out  the Sunday Express-Times site, Sara K. Satulla  wrote an awesome story on Judith’s Reading Room in the VALLEY Section’s back page in regards to the opening of this library …..  Judith’s Reading Room, Bethlehem-based nonprofit, opens its 45th library.[/note]

Zana Begollari, an English teacher in Polenë, gave a short speech commemorating the event, saying “These books are important to helping us communicate freely in English as a foreign language. Step by step, we must practice the English language. In these books are words we must use daily.” Fredi Mançi, another teacher at the school, explained “These books are new and different. We can all make use of them, the teachers as well, and there is a good possibility of improving our English skills as well in order to share the joy of these books with the children.” Ilir Filovani, the director of this school, said the school had a great need for the books and appreciated the gift.

The children remarked on the familiarity of some characters in the books like Sleeping Beauty and SpongeBob, and were motivated to start reading to learn more about them. One student, Christina, read a passage from her favorite book to the rest of the students present. At the end of the event, Ms Begollari led her English students to say “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Judith’s Reading Room had previously opened a library in the neighboring village of Qatrom.

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.