Kindergarten students in Ghana benefit from library books.
Kindergarten students in Ghana benefit from library books.

Stayer Hall, home to the College of Education and Human Services at Millersville University, is also home to a children’s library that many may not know about.

The Sue A. Walker children’s library opened in Stayer 118 in the fall of 1996. This library contains children’s and young adult books, poetry, nonfiction, fiction and graphic novels for anyone with an MU ID to check out. Books can be checked out for two weeks and renewed. The purpose of this library is to allow students to check out books for assignments, parents to check out books for their children, and for students who just want a fun read.

Not only has this library benefited the Millersville University community, but it has also benefited children in Ghana, Africa.

Dr. Deborah Tamakloe, assistant professor for the Department of Early, Middle and Exceptional Education, is a native of Ghana and moved to the United States in 2010 to pursue her Ph.D. Growing up, she never had a book in her home. This inspired her to start the Care to Read project.WIN_20170103_05_08_53_Pro

The project’s purpose is to advocate for reading in rural areas of Africa. She began to collect books and take donations to send over to Ghana so she could not only share books with the community, but open a small library in her home for all to use.

She expressed her project to Dr. Richard Kerper, the founder of the Sue A. Walker children’s library, and he wanted to get involved. While the library in Stayer was being revamped, Kerper decided to donate 3,000 of the books not used anymore in the library to Tamakloe’s project. She not only received donations from the Stayer library but from her students and other Ghanaian communities in the United States.

Tamakloe visits Ghana at least once a year, during either a summer or winter break. She sends books often with her own funds to not only her library, but to women advocacy groups, village chiefs, churches and local schools.

Book StorageHer library is located in a room in her home in Ghana. Most of her books are placed in boxes and in shelves for the community to come and borrow.

“They are more able to read and love to read,” Tamakloe says of the project benefits. “They spend time in the library instead of loitering around at night. I will say it keeps them out of trouble.”

Children not only come to the library to get books but also do homework assignments and hang out with other children in their community. Tamakloe said one school she donated to said that they won a spelling bee competition because of the books they received.

“The power of books is magnified in rural Africa where access to information is limited to what the teacher has for you, so this advocacy was very well received in rural Ghana,” she says. “This was my inspiration.”

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