24 July 2021: Children across the Solomon Islands will have the chance to read local stories that spark imagination and build foundations for a lifelong love of reading, with the nation’s first ever digital library of books launching this month.
The program is being facilitated by Library For All, a Save the Children Australia not for profit enterprise made up of a global team of creatives with a passion for improving the lives of children through technology enabled learning tools.
The collection will feature 350 children’s books, in English and the local Arosi language, and will be available free on an Android app across the Solomon Islands.
Many of the stories within the collection have been written by Solomon Islanders, reflecting a sense of place and identity familiar to the children that will read the books.
For most of the authors, this was also their first experience putting pen to paper to create a children’s book, making it a significant opportunity to share their knowledge and stories.
Rebecca McDonald Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Library For All said:
“The purpose of the program is to improve literacy outcomes for children in the Solomons Islands through stories that reflect their own experiences and identities,” Ms McDonald said.
“The idea is for the books to compliment the abundance of ‘window’ books that exist in the world – books that give a glimpse into the lives of others – and enrich a child’s reading experience by seeing their own lives and identities ‘mirrored’ on the pages they read.
Rebecca was inspired to build Library for All while volunteering in Haiti in 2010. While on the ground, Rebecca saw many students eager to learn but with no access to books, as an avid e-reader, she could access limitless books instantly, so she was struck by this injustice. Rebecca has since dedicated the past decade to realising her dream: let the world learn.
“Library For All believes that education brings opportunity, and our mission is to make knowledge accessible to all.
“We won’t stop until every child can learn, does learn and enjoys learning,” Ms McDonald said.
Madam Alison Hora, Solomon Islands Arosi educator said:
“As a local author of Arosi books I am proud to contribute to the Solomon Islands first digital library.
“I am grateful that the Arosi language has been part of this project and that our children will now have access to more reading books written in their own mother tongue which will no doubt improve their learning,” Ms Hora said.
Save the Children Solomon Islands Education Program Manager Placida Misiga said:
“Save the Children is proud to be working alongside Library For All to provide local children with such a unique resource for the very first time.
“The Solomon Islands is isolated in many ways, which often makes delivery of education resources difficult, but Library For All’s effective use of edtech makes reading easily available to children who need, and will value it, most,” Ms Misiga said.
The collection is available to download for free on the Library For All App (Get The App – Library For All) on any Android phone in the Solomon Islands.