In Magarao, located in Camarines Sur in the Bicol region of the Philippines, the local climate consists of two seasons: the dry/hot season from March to October and the rainy season from November to February. Most men in the area are farmers and most women tend to the home or are paid to wash clothes for other, more affluent, members of the community. In a survey of the 1,300 students at Magarao Central School, 95% indicated that they have no children's books in their home. This project will lead to the revitalization of unused space in the school, creating a library for students and building the capacity of a local library committee that will be responsible for overseeing construction, planning, and day-to-day management of the library.
The library is now officially opened. The library contains 3 tables with 12 chairs, a reading corner which serves as a comfortable space for students to browse books, a Listening Center complete with 4 chairs and 4 sets of headphones, a large whiteboard which teachers can use when teaching in the library, over 3,900 children's books written in all three of the students' main languages, teacher reference materials, and a wide variety of educational games and manipulatives. The teachers participated in a two-day training where they learned about the library, its resources, and how to integrate the materials into their daily curriculums. To help promote the library to students, parents, and community members, the teachers have arranged monthly events, such as Family Reading Nights. As of August 2014, at least 9 teachers have conducted read aloud sessions in their classrooms, which were not a part of their previous teaching habits.
"The children are starting to discover their love for reading. The library provided the children and teachers a worthy place to spend their leisure time at school." - Dinah, Project Leader
"When I am inside the library I feel happy and free. I want to come back over and over again." - Maricris, Project Participant
"When the morning recess bell rings at Magarao Central School, the kids rush out of their classrooms in order to be first in line. This line used to form outside the canteen where the kids buy their snacks, but now the line forms in front of the library." - Melissa, Peace Corps Volunteer