Ethiopia library wins first International Relations Round Table (IRRT) Mission Enhancement Grant

For Immediate Release
Mon, 02/26/2018

Contact:

Delin Guerra

Program Officer

International Relations Office

dguerra@ala.org

CHICAGO — The Chromebook Lab project at the Axumite Heritage Foundation Library in Ethiopia is the first recipient of the American Library Association’s International Relations Roundtable (IRRT) Mission Enhancement Grant.

The Axumite Heritage Foundation will receive a $1,000 IRRT Mission Enhancement Grant to support a new Chromebook lab in the Foundation Library in Axum.  In October 2017, 30 Chromebooks and a portable plug-and-play Rachel server loaded with the entire Ethiopian secondary school curriculum, as well as plasma videos to accompany the curriculum, have already been sent to the Foundation Library.  The goal is for content to be available on the Chromebooks regardless of Internet access.  The server also includes content from many organizations such as the Kahn Academy, Hesperin Health Guides, African Storybook project, Ted Talks, Great Books of the World, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, and Infonet-Biovision.  A full list can be found at http://rachelfriends.org/previews/rachelplus-en/.  Funds from the IRRT Mission Enhancement Grant will support UPS (uninterrupted power supply), supplies, local meetings, and translation services during the coming year. 

The Axumite Heritage Foundation is a subsidiary of the Ethiopian Community Development Council (http://www.ecdcus.org/).  The Council established the Foundation in 1993 in order to restore the 'Inda Nebri'id, the former Governor’s Palace in Axum, and turn it into a cultural center to promote the unique heritage of Axum.  The ’Inda Nebri’id opened its doors as a public library in 2002.

IRRT member Janet Lee, dean of libraries, Regis University in Denver applied for the grant on behalf of the project.  Dean Lee is currently serving as a Fulbright Scholar in Ethiopia for the academic year 2017-18.  She is splitting time between the library at University of Aksum and the Axumite Heritage Foundation Library.

In 2016, the International Relations Round Table members and supporters established the IRRT Endowment.  Interest from the Endowment is used to fund member-initiated proposals for international activities and initiatives which contribute to ALA’s role in international librarianship.  Goals for the funding are to provide support for international projects or partnerships; promote a global dialogue about librarianship; increase visibility of international opportunities for U.S. and international librarians, and encourage international collaboration in librarianship.  The IRRT Executive Board approved the establishment of the IRRT Mission Enhancement Grant as a mechanism for distribution of endowment funding in 2017.  Information about the grant may be found at http://www.ala.org/rt/irrt-mission-enhancement-grant.