The library at Lakhonepheng Complete Primary School in Salavan, Laos is always neat and well-organized, thanks to the school’s dedicated staff. “The selection of our school for a library is so meaningful for our community,” says principal Bouaphan Dokdaoheuang, who notes that the village is more than two hours’ drive form the provincial center.
The school has been maintaining the library entirely on its own since Room to Read’s three-year support period ended in 2011, so when our team returned for an annual monitoring visit to find it running as smoothly as ever, we were extremely pleased.
The school’s teacher-librarian is an extremely energetic 23-year-old named Daosavanh, who says her favorite part of her job is creating interactive activities and games related to the storybooks on the shelves. “The library isn’t just about reading good books,” she says, “but it is also like a student center—a comfortable place where they can explore their infinite imaginations.”
“I never tell the children to be quiet when coming into library,” shares Daosavanh. “Instead, I read for them and encourage them to do many activities.” Her technique is working, she says, adding that, “their excitement tells me that they will be back another day.”
It would seem Daosavanh is on to something with her library management style, as several of the 4th and 5th graders have started volunteering as book classification assistants.
When visiting Lakhonepheng Complete Primary School recently, our team met one eager young reader named Kingsada, who insisted upon sharing his story. Now in 3rd grade, Kingsada comes into the library each day to check out a new book. Clutching his latest storybook selection to his chest, he recalled his first experience in the library. “My teacher told a story from a book with beautiful pictures called A Bunny and a Carrot,” he shared, beaming. “I liked the story so much and looked through it many times on my own—page by page—to see the nice drawings, [and] it became one of my favorite books!”
Kingsada’s story is one of many, says Daosavanh, that shows how much reading habits at at Lakhonepheng Complete Primary School have changed over the past few years. “Many teachers say to me that it must be hard to wear two hats at the same time—to teach as well as to take responsibility on the library operation,” she says. “To tell the truth, I don’t feel that at all, because I can see the dramatic improvement of my students reading skills since we have the library.”Learn more about how other Room to Read libraries are doing based on the findings of our School Library Post-Completion Study.