Let’s Read – A Digital Library unveiled by a non-profit organization Books For Asia

72 million children around the world are not enrolled in school; Concern Worldwide focuses on providing basic education to those who need it most. Access to education is not only a basic human right, but also a key factor in reducing poverty and child labour.

The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia is launching a crowdfunding campaign to benefit the Let’s Read! Asia digital library, the international nonprofit’s first e-book donation project. Collaboration with the nonprofit Library for All, the library is one of the first of its kind in developing Asia. The project will use high-impact, low-cost technology to give children access to locally relevant reading material, allowing them to attain the most essential of childhood experiences – the magic of becoming lost in a story.

A Books for Asia, founded in 1954, is a program of the nonprofit international development organization The Asia Foundation. Books for Asia expands opportunities for individuals, communities, and nations by putting brand-new books and digital content in English and local languages into the hands of students, educators, and local and national leaders in 20 countries.

Sipar Mobile Library (Image credit: Kwanseok Lee)

Many children in Asia do not have access to engaging, colorful storybooks that inspire a lifelong love of reading. Often, school textbooks are the only reading material available as children’s books are too expensive for the average family, especially in rural areas. Realizing this great need, Books for Asia is launching a pilot project called Let’s Read!
Asia in 5 schools and 2 mobile libraries serving low-income communities in Cambodia local partner organizations Kampuchean Action for Primary Education (KAPE) and Sipar. Each site will be equipped with Android tablets on which the digital library platform will provide access to picture books in Khmer, the country’s official language, and English. The platform is designed for developing country contexts – the library is calibrated for low-end tablets and does not require Internet access.
Source: Books For Asia
How does the digital library work?
The digital library app created by Library For All was designed for developing country contexts where internet and electricity access is often limited. The app does not need internet access to be used, only to download additional books. Data and battery usage is minimal. And, the app interface is entirely in Khmer, allowing ease of use by Cambodian students and teachers. 
The e-book collection will be used for weekly storytime sessions, reading festivals, and other related activities. The participating schools and mobile libraries will utilize the app’s robust analytics to track student progress and provide individualized attention.
Source: Books For Asia
Books for Asia’s book donations to Cambodian schools and universities – more than 900,000 books since the program’s inception in 1995 – have dramatically increased access to much need education resources. Their resident local staff have deep experience in local education and development issues, as well as close relationships with extraordinary local organizations.
Books for Asia is the leading provider of donation information resources in the region. Each year, the program reaches thousands of institutions in 21 Asian countries, connecting students, education, and local and national leaders with the knowledge they need to improve lives and expand opportunities. 
The Let’s Read! Asia Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign runs from September 8 to October 9, and will be marked by launch events in San Francisco and New York City. The campaign goal is $50,000. Early supporters include Air Busan, a regional South Korean airline. You can support and generously contribute to this campaign at Indigogo.


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