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By Peter J. Henriot SJ
Jun 29th, 2018

A good library is essential for a good school – in Malawi as well as around the world!

That is why we are working hard to make sure that Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) does indeed have the space and the books to assure that our learners and our teachers have library facilities that really contribute to a good academic experience. 

When Form One, our first group of learners, arrived in September 2015, we had minimal space and minimal books to offer as a “library.”  What might eventually serve as a storage closet became the library space — offering a few shelves and lots of boxes! 

First library space for our school

Eventually more books arrived – reference books, history and geography, fiction, text books, art books, etc.  We obtained these books through cash donations (e.g., generous grants from Rotary Clubs in Lilongwe and in Tacoma USA), carefully selected books shipped from friends in Baltimore USA and London), and Malawi government assistance.

Samples of books donated by Rotary clubs

Teachers make use of donated reference books

To secure space and acquire furniture for library facilities was a challenge as LJSS continued to grow in enrollment.  We have been using very tight facilities as our learners are eager to acquire good reading skills and wider knowledge.

Plenty to learn when good books are available

Eager learners in tight library space

So we were very pleased and appreciative to receive a generous grant from the Beit Foundation, an international donor that has been very beneficial for African organisations. This enabled us to order our local joinery to construct the needed shelves and tables and benches for good use of the space we had set aside in the general construction of accommodations. 

By the time our next intake occurs in September 2018 – bringing LJSS to full capacity of four Forms (nine through twelve; frosh, soph, junior and senior), we hope to be using our new library space and facilities.  Good learning in a good place!

New text books being readied for distribution

People sometimes ask if sending us books would be helpful.  In general, it is more helpful to donate money for us to purchase the needed books right here in Malawi.  Shipping boxes overseas is very, very expensive.  And the right books are usually more easily available locally.  Donations to improve our LJSS library can be made via instructions on www.loyola-malawi.org