Millions of children living in rural areas of China have limited access to reading material. Pass Love Charity Foundation (PLCF) established the Dandelion Village Library Program in 2007 to build libraries for primary schools in remote, rural villages. The program has recently expanded to build libraries for secondary school children and in urban areas.
The Dandelion Village Library Program model supplies each library with:
- An inviting, decorated environment to create a safe haven for children
- 3,000+ high quality, developmentally appropriate books hand-picked by education experts
- Educational videos and materials for teachers
- Enrichment activities that strengthen independent thinking and creative writing
- Volunteers recruited from China's top universities to teach for up to one year
- Teacher support that covers topics such as classroom management, reading instruction, sex education, and how to incorporate library materials
In addition to these individual library features, the Dandelion Village Library Program also provides the following benefits:
- Regional village library networks that facilitate collaboration among teachers and librarians to share best practices
- Professional development conferences and networking opportunities for teachers. A conference held every 6 months provides meals for 150-250 teachers to attend and hear top educators share their experiences
- An online forum that allows principals and teachers to share progress and post updates about each library
PLCF currently operates one library in Shanghai that serves as a model for donors in urban areas to see the work being done in rural locations and hopes to expand its urban presence. Distinct from the program's rural libraries, city libraries operate according to a cross-subsidization social business model: during the first half of the day, people may pay to attend large events or have their children participate in activities; the library operates for free during the second half of the day.
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CEI approaches in action
The majority of the program's 70 current libraries are paired with rural, elementary schools as well as 3 at the middle school level and one city library in Shanghai. Depending on the size of the partner school and local community, each library serves anywhere from 150 to 900 students.
Pass Love Charity Foundation began building libraries in Anhui province in late 2007 and has since seen enormous growth with 70 libraries completed by mid-2013.
PLCF is currently able to construct about 2 libraries each month and is working to expand the program's presence in cities in addition to existing rural locations.
Monitoring & Evaluation
While PLCF does not track every student and teacher affiliated with a library, employees conduct interviews with students, teachers, and parents as well as classroom observations and assessments of students' work.
Survey results for students 9 months after the opening of Wanglou Library:
- 83% felt happier
- 76% had more desire to read
- 71% gained knowledge
- 64% improved academic performance
- 61% improved writing skills
- 60% improved problem-solving skills
- 59% improved creativity/imagination
- 58% saw behavior improvements