Nonhinehae Complete Primary School sits in the urban center of one of Laos’s southernmost provinces. With a relatively large population of 412 students, finding enough resources to serve the entire student body is a constant challenge, so in 2011 the school’s headmaster was delighted to begin the year with an announcement. “It is with great happiness and pride that I tell you,” he began, “that soon we will have a new library at our school.”
After the announcement, students and teachers alike were abuzz with anticipation. As the books and materials began to arrive later in the year, many students volunteered to lend a hand with the library setup, eager to start checking out books immediately.
Since the library’s inauguration, it has been packed at all hours. During their designated class time, students can be found perusing the shelves for their favorite book with tenacity—clambering to check it out in time. After school, it has become a common sight for groups of children to sit together in under the shade of a tree until 6:00 or 7:00 at night devouring new titles.
“This is the most excited I have ever seen the students in my entire teaching career,” says the school’s teacher-librarian, who notes that class discussions have gotten more lively since his pupils have started to read more on their own.
“When I was growing up, books were scarce—especially in remote areas,” says another teacher. “Most of the time we had to share one book among the entire class.”
Beyond the observations of the school’s staff, our team got a firsthand account of the library’s impact at Nonhinehae Complete Primary School during a recent follow-up visit. “Thank you for the nice library!” said one eager young student. “I really love reading there with my friends.”
Learn more about our School Libraries program.