KT celebrates hope: Book donation drive promotes literacy
In its first phase, the initiative is focusing on providing books to students, schools and educational institutions.
Published: Mon 1 Apr 2019, 9:00 PM
Last updated: Mon 1 Apr 2019, 11:03 PM
Wanted often refers to fugitives fleeing jail terms, but in the occupied land of Palestine, the word embodies a request for a much simpler item: Books.
Realising the tight control over books in Palestine, international group Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (LAP) and Palestinian partner organisation Tamer Institute for Community Education decided to step up and provide up-to-date books to libraries in the West Bank and Gaza. They launched the online platform 'Matloub' (Wanted in Arabic) to gather requests for books from 17 libraries.
The platform (www.matloub.librarianswithpalestine.org) allows people from all over the world to browse requested titles and purchase a book, paying for its shipping costs. The group in charge then coordinates the books' delivery with the requesting library.
In its first phase, the initiative is focusing on providing books to students, schools and educational institutions with requested Arabic titles, including Malala Yousafzai's I am Malala for $16, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables for $10 and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes for $28. The platform plans to expand to cover all age groups and interests in the future.
"With this campaign, we hope to raise awareness about access issues and the context in which Palestinian libraries operate, while at the same time, offering material support for the libraries' collections," the initiative's founders said.
This way, library shelves will be packed with relevant, up-to-date books that can provide modern education and increase literacy under occupation, while also bridging the gap between Palestine and the rest of the world.
What distinguishes this platform is that it challenges the traditional book donation concept that sees international donors giving away unwanted books that do not necessarily cater to the Palestinian audience.
With the use of innovative digital and logistic solutions, the platform provides books that were requested by the libraries to ensure that these fit the need and serve the priorities of students.
On the website, the founders noted that the cost of some books posted are often "significantly higher" than original titles because delivering books to Palestinian libraries is "neither scalable nor easily sustainable".
The LAP spoke with librarians, publishers, educators and organisers to better understand the situation and deliver books effectively over blockades and checkpoints.
How Matloub spreads hope
>>It's an online book donation platform
>>Provides Palestinian libraries with the books that fit their need
>>Aims to support Palestinians in overcoming barriers to education
>>Raises awareness about access issues and the context in which the libraries operate
>>Allows people from all over the world to purchase the books for the libraries