Mobile Library Project — A Window to the World
To reach families in remote places…
Books are delivered by motorbike…
Putting books into the hands of those who need them
Opening a window to the world.
By A Web Design
Imagine opening your eyes every morning to a round, not square, ceiling, made of felt, not plaster; with ‘spokes’ of orange or blue above you, all converging on a wooden wheel half open to the sky in summer, closed against the cold in winter. This ‘window,’ when open, shows the famous bright blue Mongolian sky.
If you regularly wake to that view, there is a good chance you are a nomadic herder living in the Mongolian ger (traditional round felt tent), moving at least two to four times annually.
There are advantages to the nomadic herder’s lifestyle – fresh air, breath-taking views, and constant challenges to one’s thriftiness and physical endurance. However, there are also difficulties — lack of medical services, unending physical labour, and harsh conditions that kill off entire herds and leave families destitute.
In addition, access to educational services is limited. Many herders send their children to board in village schools. However, other opportunities for continued learning are almost impossible to find.
This is especially true the remote western province of Uvs, 1400 km from the country’s capital, Ulaanbaatar. Seventy percent of the population of 77,400 dwell outside of the province centre in the villages and isolated countryside regions spread across its 69.6 thousand square kilometers.
Mobile Library Goal
Our project aims to create self-sustainable countryside mobile libraries to open windows of learning by means of a systematic book rotation available to herders living in the countryside for whom the local village libraries are logistically inaccessible.
Mongolia has a 80-90 percent literacy rate, but reading material for nomadic herders outside of the village centres is all but unattainable for transportation and financial reasons. In March 2011 GNS, has started a Mobile Library to assist in ‘opening a window to the world’ for herders in Uvs province. Each month we take 25 books, from a variety of genres, to countryside district officials who then distribute the books via horseback or motorcycle and collect them again before we return to switch out the next set of books. We are currently working in two counties: Sagil and Umungov.
Mobile Library Plan
- Set up a Mobile Library book rotation system for herders with local officials using GNS Mobile Library books, volunteer labour, and benzene money funds in order to give herders and officials a taste of how reading can positively affect herders.
- Create a Village Mobile Library Committee including the village librarian, countryside district officials, and herder representatives.
- Assist the committee in beginning to implement their plan.
- The committee continues the project on their own using village library resources and their own funding ideas such as collecting benzene funds from herder families or receiving permission for funds through the village budget.
We hope this new "window to the world" will allow nomadic herders to continue growing personally and professionally as they follow their herds.