Thursday, July 19, 2007
Books for Fiji schools
Many schools in Fiji receive donated books from overseas organisations and concerned tourists who develop a relationship with a school. Okay, that's fine, but it is hard to know what kind of books are suitable. Every Tuesday and Wednesday mornings a few of us in Geelong sort out piles of boxes of books donated from schools when they upgrade their libraries. These go into containers bound for the South Pacific or Asia. We look through the books and decide which ones might be of use. It's hard to know sometimes - the reading level, the accessability of the material, the relevance, the hundreds of senior level maths and science books but may not be suitable. So unfortunately many of the books go to the tip. Even the organizers of monster book sales don't want them. I retrieved a few interesting ones the other day - the life of John Wesley, a history of sculpture, stained glass windows, a high school art book, even an old Reader from the 50s which was nostalgic for me but so unattractive in print style, etc. I sort the primary and secondary fiction mainly and leave the hard choices to others. Here's an example of the difference between a school text of the 50s and the 2000s.
Some websites of interest on this topic are
Living by the book – a peace corp volunteer’s adventures with books in a Fijian village
An academic at the USP writes about school libraries and book resources in schools in the South Pacific
books for sale for primary children in Fiji – on a New Zealand website