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Dublin Scioto High School: Where ALP is Part of the Culture

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ALP Packing 1When Gina Finley, Librarian and Technology Assistant at Dublin Scioto High School (DSHS), Dublin, Ohio, was asked to help with a service project required for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, she said it had to involve literacy. Knowing the project must have global impact, she realized that ALP was a perfect fit for her interests and IB’s requirements.

The students at DSHS embraced the book drive project.  Many of them have an international background, including some from Africa.  Gina explained, “They feel they are helping friends in their own country while sharing their love of reading.”

Even students without an African background find working with ALP meaningful.  “I love helping others. I found collecting books hit close to home for me because my parents were born in Sri Lanka, a third world country that cannot obtain books and suffers greatly financially with a genocide going on," said Anujanaa Baskaranathan.  “I thought collecting books for African schools was important.”

For Ashley Robertson the value of the book drives was that “I got to share something that I love with others and promote the idea that everyone has the right to read and learn.”

DSHS involvement in book drives became so popular, Finley created an ALP Club.  Moreover, so many students want to participate in the annual book drive, she has to limit the group to twenty and conduct an annual raffle.  Each year 10 juniors are chosen who will work the project for two years.  They will be trained by the seniors who were selected the previous year.

The book drives run from January to April.  Students are involved in collecting, sorting and packing.  They also create posters to publicize the drive.  They sort during their club meetings, sometimes with a pizza party, and store the books in the back of the school library.

Their primary way to raise money is a annual community event called Café-Read-A-Latte, which is a Global Literacy Day held during Right to Read Week.  Students, staff and community members come together to celebrate their heritage.  Booths with ethnic foods and displays line the school cafeteria walls; and an open mic forum is set up for students to play ethnic music, dance and read poetry. To attend, students must contribute $2 or two books.  The first café had a small attendance, but now has grown to 300-400 participants.

Every year, the DSHS African Library Project organizes the donation of more than 1000 books and raises more than $600 in shipping costs.  It has completed its eighth year of building school libraries in Malawi, Ghana and Swaziland.  ALP has named the school a “Global Literacy Champion,” for eight years running.

Gina said that the projects continued success is because “ALP is known at the school.  It is part of the culture. And the fact that a book drive accomplishes something tangible is HUGE.”

Both Gina and the students praised ALP, “The students and I love your amazing organization.  You have made it easy for us to contribute.  We get support from you and information from the African partners.”

Student Morgan Williams agreed, “"African Library project is a phenomenal organization because it has made a tremendous influence in my high school career. It is a wonderful way to make an impact in others’ lives around the world.”

DSHS African Library Project Club plans to commence its ninth year with the organization in January 2018.