Local Librarian Bringing Books, Literacy to Africa

Updated: 03/23/2014 10:21 PM
Created: 03/23/2014 4:15 PM
By: Travis Dill

A local librarian is seeking book donations to help create a small school library half way across the globe in Malawi, Africa.

Diane Kauppi is a librarian at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, but this weekend she was stocking a bookshelf at Hom Furniture in Hermantown. The shelf is just a pit stop for the books before they do some globetrotting.

“These are going to Malawi, Africa,” Kauppi said.

Hom Furniture is accepting book donations for her to help create a school library there. About 100 have been donated so far, but Kauppi said the collection isn't big enough yet.

“For this 1,000 [books] is the minimum, and to me that felt like a small donation,” Kauppi said.

She hopes others in the community can spare a paperback or two to help bring literacy half way around the globe.

“These are the students that will be going on, in say 20 years, will be the leaders of the country so they have aspirations of being the doctors, the nurses, the lawyers,” Kauppi said.

But Kauppi said that's hard to accomplish when there are 10 students to every book. The children are requesting books for pre-kindergarten to the 8th grade level.

“They are asking for books related to math, math subjects, sciences, English, grammar, spelling those types of books,” Kauppi said.

She said novels are fine too. Kauppi got her passion for books from her mother and hopes to honor her with this act of kindness. She said being an educator is good motivation as well.

“Still, to this day, I enjoy seeing students learn and seeing that old light bulb over their head when they get a concept that maybe they didn't understand before,” Kauppi said.

She hopes the community will come together to borrow a few more books.

Books can be dropped off at Hom Furniture in Hermantown, but monetary donations are needed too. Kauppi said it takes $500 to ship the books to Africa.

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