Building the Kumbo Public Library

After more than a year of fundraising, book drives and planning, the construction of the Kumbo Public Library has begun. The Himalayan Institute in partnership with the Honesdale Rotary sent 25,000 books and archival quality shelving units to Kumbo, Cameroon. The Himalayan Institute Cameroon community center was chosen to house the new library, and plans have been drawn up to convert the center’s main hall.

The hall is *** square feet with *** feet high ceilings. There are windows on the north and east sides, providing the hall with natural light all day.

The hall is 1500 square feet with 13 feet high ceilings. There are windows on the north and east sides, providing the hall with natural light all day.

On September 28, 2009, community members and HIC staff began to move the shelving units and books out of storage and into what will be their permanent location. Hundreds of boxes of books were carried by hand and by wheelbarrow. Once the books were brought into the building, a second team began the project of sorting, organizing and alphabetizing the books.


Because of the generous fundraising efforts of the Honesdale Rotary, the hall for the library will be completely renovated with new furniture and structural improvements. The Himalayan Institute School of Carpentry & Construction (C&C) has undertaken the complete renovation and furnishing of the library. C&C technicians are building custom-made tables, desks and chairs for the library. In addition, the windows are being upgraded, so that the library can be a fully climate controlled facility. This will ensure that the books last for many generations.

C&C technicians organize the shelving units for assembling.

C&C technicians organize the shelving units for assembling.

Community education programs will be hosted at the library, including adult literacy classes, children’s afterschool programs, and educational video nights where films such as Plant Earth will be projected onto the 12 foot cinema wall. Three computers will be available in the library for educational use and they will be loaded with Wikipedia For Schools, an offline version of Wikipedia that is about the size of a twenty volume encyclopedia. So even when the computers are not connected to the internet, students can still do research and access up-to-date information. The library will have a reading room, children’s learning area, and a section devoted to textbooks. Books on average make up 44% of annual school expenses for students in Kumbo. Having access to textbooks through a public library will help make going to school more affordable.

Thanks to all of the help from the local community, the library will be open by the end of the year.

teamwork-sm lifting books-sm


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4 thoughts on “Building the Kumbo Public Library

  1. Bravo!

    What a great opportunity for the Students of the School of Carpentry and Construction to help serve the community while developing their woodworking skills (thanks to Marten).

    Use of the HIC big hall in Tobin as the location will help Kumbo residents appreciate that the HIC is now a big part of their lives.

    Thanks to the Honesdale Rotary and all other contributors, large and small!

  2. to all who have supported the vision and the work in multiple ways and to all that will benefit, graditude as it takes many hands and hearts working together. thanks to those seen and unseen.

  3. Pingback: 2009 Major Activities and Timeline « Blog | Himalayan Institute Humanitarian Projects

  4. Hello.

    I have recently returned from a trip to Cameroon, Africa. I have been all around Banso in Shisong, Kumbo and Jakiri while visiting friends working in the Peace Corps. I really enjoyed myself and the efforts the Himalyan Institute and Peace Corps have been doing there to improve education, health, and agriculture.

    Thank you very much.
    Most sincerely,
    Devonne Johnson

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