Ethiopia Reads

September 1, 2010

Thanks to the vision and perseverance of Yohannes Gebregeorgis, founder of Ethiopia Reads, a new library worthy of any developed country opened August 20 in Mekele, the first of its kind in this small and grindingly poor city. The Segenat Children and Youth Library in the region of Tigray is located in a sturdy, free-standing building donated by the municipal authorities. It’s fully loaded with some 10,000 books and a computer room with 10 workstations; two e-book readers and 8,000 more books are on the way. A companion donkey-mobile regularly transports some 2,000 additional books to more distant parts of Tigray, powered by two beasts of burden named Sege and Nat.

View of the city of Mekele, Ethiopia, population just under 1 million--with no public library for children, until now.
Two teens on their way to the library opening.
Children with the donkeymobile powered by Sege and Nat.
Janet Lee, right, explains how the library came to be, while Ethiopia Reads founder Yohannes Gebregeorgis and newly trained staffers look on.
Children of Mekele read for assembled dignitaries.
Coffee ceremony during the opening celebration.
Children respectfully enjoying their new space.
New reader with his free book.
Local artist and illustrator plays with youngsters decked out for the Ashenda girls festival.
Grateful young folks dance with Yohannes Gebregeorgis, the man behind the new library and Ethiopia Reads.
New readers.
Girls celebrating Ashenda in their new library.
Kids who attended the opening all received their own copy of Tirhas Celebrates Ashenda, written by Yohannes Gebregeorgis.
The day after: newly trained staffer hard at work.