At PLF, we believe in libraries. Not only do libraries bolster reading skills, but they foster creative and critical thinking. Our library in Koh Ker continues to thrive, so we’re working on expanding that model to other PLF locations. Recently a library has been installed at the Knar Learning Center and next month we will launch a library at Romchek.
While Chenda, our long-time English teacher at KVLC, was preparing to take on the role of librarian, she visited various libraries and met with librarians to ask their advice. A few months ago, Chenda and Theada, the KVLC Field Director, went up to Koh Ker to meet with Sareng, the first student to finish grade 9 in her village and Koh Ker’s first Librarian. It was exciting for Chenda & Theada to see her library in action. Chenda arrived full of energy and hungry to learn: “I’ve never been in a learning exchange before and it’s so important for me. This exchange gives me a chance to know our partner schools and teachers!”
Chenda with her Students pre-building of the KLVC library
Koh Ker’s librarian, Sareng, has always been a catalyst for action within PLF. Her resolve to continue her education past Grade 6 inspired the creation of the Srayang Dorm. And her passion to give back to her community and encourage the next generation of students resulted in the Koh Ker library where she has worked as the librarian since 2014. Now, she is serving as a role model for our expansion of library programming.
During the two-day exchange, Theada and Chenda shared with Sareng some book cover techniques they learned from other NGO libraries in Siem Reap and everyone helped her complete the library’s book inventory (critical as we begin letting students and teachers borrow the books to read at home). Sareng shared her experience in library management and various activities she leads with the students. The KVLC team also sat in as Sareng led a storytime for some of Koh Ker’s students, reflecting with her afterward on the importance of such activities and strategies to make them the most effective. As Theada said after the trip, “What we learned from Sareng is so interesting and will be so helpful to make the KVLC library look great and to ensure the students will enjoy all of the activities there!”
Chenda, Theada and Sareng meeting with other Librarians
We talk often of sustainability in NGO and community work in terms of finances. We do always strive for financial sustainability in the libraries and have even begun a rotation of our library books across PLF schools in order to bring the same fresh reading material to every location while only paying for it once. Managing book inventories has been a task that the Librarians have now mastered. For us, this first library exchange highlights the vital importance of investing in people for sustainability. Believing in Sareng as a young student has now brought us not one but three libraries and investing in the library exchange has built a sustainable support network between Sareng, Chenda and Tha that will feedback into continual improvements in Koh Ker and KVLC Romchek and beyond.
Chenda in the new library at KVLC!
We were thrilled to see Sareng passing the torch so confidently and emphatically to Chenda and are excited to see how Chenda takes it and evolves it for the KVLC community!
Read more about our Enrichment programs here.
Watch an amazing short documentary called “Sunflowers of Srayang” featuring Sareng and Tha back in 2013 here.