$15,000 Raised at Second Annual WIJABA 5K

USC’s Chapter of WIJABA raised $15,000 in the second annual WIJABA 5k for underprivlidged children in Indonesia and Mexico. To read the full press release, visit USC’s website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WIJABA’s Second Library in Chihuahua, Mexico Now Open!

WIJABA is proud to announce the opening of our second library in Mexico! This new library at Margarita Maza de Juarez will serve over 400 children and their families:

Posted in Books, Child, Libraries, Mexico, WIJABA | Leave a comment

Martin Scorsese Honored with WIJABA Library

“I am so honored to have this library named in my honor. Books are precious, and should never be taken for granted. They open vast worlds of thought and discovery to the reader–they are, in essence, the testimony of humanity itself. Those of us with ready access to books too often take that access for granted, and we should not. The World Is Just a Book Away is performing a crucial task, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

–Martin Scorsese

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

American Library Association Presents WIJABA with The Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects

We are pleased to announce that this past June, the American Library Association presented WIJABA with the prestigious Presidential Citation for Innovative Library Projects. The award was bestowed upon us for the following reasons:

  • For providing access to libraries and literacy programs to areas that have been ravaged by natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis;
  • For working to establish libraries in safe areas that will help protect them from natural disasters;
  • For seeking to make reading accessible to a wider population by printing books in local, native languages for addition to tire libraries;
  • For establishing 49 physical libraries, 26 parent libraries, and 2 mobile libraries populated with over 50,000 books that /rave reached more than 27,000 children;
  • For maximizing donations and reaching out to international and local sponsors, allowing more children to reap the benifit of access of libraries and library programming; and
  • For collaborating with other libraries on programs and for creating innovative ways to connect with local community members.

The award was given in Anaheim, California on June 25, 2012 by American Library Association President, Molly Raphael.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Right People, Right Time: Library Specialist Helps WIJABA Win ALA Award

As continues to be the case since the inception of The World Is Just a Book Away (WIJABA), the right people seem to find us and engage with us just at the right time.  Today we want to bring to light Mr. Win Shih, Director of Integrated Library Systems at the University of Southern California.  As you’ll read below, we are indebted to him for our recent American Library Association (ALA) award(!!), and we love that he was willing to contribute to our blog as well.  Thank you!

******

In the past few years, I have been deeply involved in international librarianship, including conducting workshops in China, Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as facilitating foreign librarian placements and internships at U.S. libraries.  Professionally, I am very active in the International Relations Round Table (IRRT) of the American Library Association (ALA), which has more than 1,800 members globally.  Currently, I serve as the Secretary and Treasurer of the IRRT.

Therefore, it was both surprising, exciting and electrifying for me when I ran across an article posted April 8th, 2012 in USC’s student newspaper, The Daily Trojan, about a seminal reading program for underprivileged and impoverished children in Indonesia, created by Professor James Owens of USC (http://dailytrojan.com/2011/04/08/nonprofit-creates-a-new-club-at-usc/).  Without hesitation, I wrote to Professor Owens expressing my enthusiasm about becoming immersed in this program.   And thus a delightfully symbiotic corroboration has commenced between us.

As I learned more about the scope and scale of WIJABA, I become increasingly respectful and appreciative of Dr. Owens’ vision, efforts and dedication.   Largely through word-of-mouth, his initiative has become widely known across campus.  The Dean of USC Libraries had suggested potential book donors, and several librarians were registered to participate in the “WIJABA 5K Run” to raise much-needed capital for the program.

Win Shih, Molly Raphael (President, ALA), WIJABA Founder James Owens, WIJABA Founding Board Member Sabine Lehmann (l to r)

With my nomination, I am proud to say WIJABA is one of the winners of this year’s American Library Association Presidential Citations for Innovative International Library Projects (http://www.ala.org/news/pr?id=10425).

Books are bastions of hope to children of all ages.  Needless to add, I am enormously honored to be part of this immensely-important project; I shall continue to foster the growth of WIJABA and contribute in whatever way I may towards its goals and world-wide successes which have so inspired James Owens and now, an entire cohort of humanitarians, librarians and altruists not just here at USC but across the planet.

******

Follow WIJABA on Facebook, or Twitter (@justabookaway) and invite your friends, too! If you would like to get involved in WIJABA, and support all these creative, educational programs and efforts, please visit www.justabookaway.org or email info@justabookaway.org. To DONATE, please click HERE. Thank you!

Posted in 5K, Award, Board, Books, Child, James J. Owens, Librarian, Libraries, Reading, USC, WIJABA | Leave a comment

WIJABA Keeping Busy: Awards, Martin Scorcese, Voice of America, & more!

It’s JUNE already, unbelievable.  There’s been much travel, much work, but also incredible partnerships and rewards.  (So, yes, we haven’t had a chance to blog in 2 mo., please forgive us!)  Below is a quick summary of a LOT of different things, and we’ll be getting you more details soon, but please do catch up with us here for now!

******

We’ve certainly been busy at The World Is Just a Book Away (WIJABA). Here are a few brief updates on what we’ve been doing since our last blog in April.

1. Recipient of American Librarian Association’s 2012 President’s Award for Innovative International Library Projects.  We’re grinning from ear to ear!

2. First orphanage library opened at Widhya Guna Foundation in Ubud, Bali.  We’re thrilled to expand our reach and help these kids!

3. First Judith’s Reading Room Libraries, which will provide English books to children at WIJABA libraries, opened in Sidoarjo (pictured).

Partnership w. Judith's Reading Room

4. Library in Sidoarjo named in honor of Martin Scorcese.  Can you believe it?!

5. Academy Award-winning Director Cynthia Wade and film crew visited libraries in Indonesia to film library openings.  More to come…!

6. USC 5K Library (2012) opened in Padang.

7.  Don’t forget we had TWO books by terrific authors released, both of whom are donating proceeds from their books to WIJABA  — AGS Johnson and Riz Khan.

8. Voice of America went to Padang, filmed and interviewed, and posted a terrific story on us.  We feel they captured what we do, and hope you agree and share it with your friends!

Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing more details from friends and supporters directly connected to these exciting projects and updates. Stay tuned!

For now, I will leave you with a quote from Martin Scorcese:

“I am so honored to have this library named in my honor. Books are precious, and should never be taken for granted. They open vast worlds of thought and discovery to the reader–they are, in essence, the testimony of humanity itself. Those of us with ready access to books too often take that access for granted, and we should not. The World Is Just a Book Away is performing a crucial task, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

******
Follow WIJABA on Facebook, or Twitter (@justabookaway) and invite your friends, too! If you would like to get involved in WIJABA, and support all these creative, educational programs and efforts, please visit www.justabookaway.org or email info@justabookaway.org. To DONATE, please click HERE. Thank you!

Posted in 5K, Books, Librarian, Libraries, Padang, Reading | Leave a comment

5K Races with a Twist in Indonesia

On March 25th, our 2nd Annual 5K was held — in Los Angeles on the U. of Southern California campus, and in Indonesia, in both Sidoarjo AND Padang!  We love our dual-continent 5K’s, and all the global effort it takes to make these events happen on behalf of The World Is Just A Book Away (WIJABA).

Below is a terrfic report from Indonesia — they have a rather different and creative take on making their run fun and engaging.  Enjoy, and our next report is from a Los Angeles participant!

*******

Padang participants!

Two hundred and seventy (270) children participated in 5K events held in Sidoarjo and Padang on the same day, March 25th, as the one held in Los Angeles.

In Padang, this was the first time for the kids to participate in the event, which was a relay race format where all 24 libraries entered a team of six student representatives.  One student from each library simultaneously sprinted 50 m across a field at the sound of the starting bell, and once across, the next team member was allowed to take off.  They continued like this until finished and collectively the students ran 6.3 km with prizes for all involved.   “This was a very fun event for the kids and even for me too,” says Wawan, WIJABA Regional Manager in Padang.

In Sidoarjo, students came out for the second annual 5K event, which was of a Jeopardy/race format.  This was a new idea initiated by WIJABA Regional Program Managers, Fufah and Luki.  Each team of six students from 21 different libraries had a set of clues strategically placed along the race course.  They had to physically and mentally race to the finish by finding clues and answering the questions along the way.  One example of the clues and answer is:

Who am I?

Clue #1: I am a national hero of Indonesia
Clue #2: I was born in Jepara, Central Java on April 21, 1879
Clue #3: I am a woman
Clue #4: I use KEBAYA and SANGGULAnswer: RA. Kartini

Sidoarjo: And their OFF!

 

“Everything was very amazing for 5K in Sidoarjo.  All of us really love the new format of 5K and all of us have fun!” says Arif, WIJABA Regional Manager in Sidoarjo.  ”All of us here in Indonesia really look forward to the 5K event next year!”

******

Posted in 5K, Indonesia, Libraries, Padang, Sidoarjo, USC, WIJABA | 1 Comment

Choosing Books & Our Unsung Heroes…the Librarians!

It’s been too long!  We’ve missed you, and we hope you’ve missed us.  We apologize for the space of time since our last post, and since then we’ve had our 2nd Annual 5K event, on March 25th, both in Indonesia (where it was sunny) and in Los Angeles (where we all got happily soaked).  But more on that in a future post.

Today we thought we’d share with you something about how books are selected, and…our fantastic librarians that manage our The World Is Just a Book Away (WIJABA) school libraries.  Those unsung heroes…  Of course, we turned to our highly informative and active Executive Director Robert Lucas, who was just in Indonesia in February, and he’s given us a bit of a rundown and some photos about our Librarian Training Program.  We hope you enjoy and choose to share this with at least one friend or colleague!

******

Isn’t there more to it than just giving books to the kids? Yes. For those of you wondering what else goes on with the books we provide, this is the blog post for you.

To start, the books have to be selected from local publishing catalogs and a foundational element of WIJABA is that the selection process involves the children, parents, and schools. Before starting in a new region, we visit schools to hold focus groups with the children to determine what their interests are, based on the available choices. We then take their requests and verify them with experts in education in the U.S., whereupon the parents and schools approve the final selection.

What happens once the kids have the books in their hands? Isn’t there more? Yes. One of the most important pieces of this whole process is to verify the initial interests of the children through collecting data on how the books are actually being used.

To do this, WIJABA created a unique two-pronged system using color-coding and numerical coding to track the books. These systems allow us to monitor the various trends over time in book genre and language by gender and age. For example, we can see that the new Indonesian science books are not so popular with the younger girls, but the English storybooks are. From this we can better provide for the children and their interests as observed in each library. Being able to collect this data gives us a powerful tool to continuously improve the book collections and libraries.

It’s been a joy to initiate these systems for WIJABA, which were launched through the Librarian Training Program in Sidoarjo this past February. Initially, I thought that the librarians would be apprehensive towards the new ideas and that the dry topics of the Dewey Decimal System wouldn’t catch on very fast. I was pleasantly surprised. We all gathered at SDN Kalisampurno I in Sidoarjo to take steps toward the implementations of these new ideas and systems and there was no grumbling, only gratitude.

I learned something very valuable through the launch of the Librarian Training Program and that is librarians are some of the most generous and humble people you will ever meet. They safeguard the world’s store of knowledge and willingly offer any curious mind access upon request. Their lives are devoted to sharing stories with others and they certainly don’t do it for the fame or money. To all the librarians around the world, especially those at WIJABA libraries in Indonesia, I salute you for your dedication to books and the magic found between the pages.

******

BY THE WAY…don’t forget to check out the new book by Board member AGS Johnson, “The Sausage Maker’s Daughters”, as part of WIJABA‘s Authors for Books program. A portion of the proceeds from the book go to WIJABA, so read a great book and make a donation in the process!

Follow WIJABA on Facebook, or Twitter (@justabookaway) and invite your friends, too! If you would like to get involved in WIJABA, and support all these creative, educational programs and efforts, please visit www.justabookaway.org or email info@justabookaway.org. To DONATE, please click HERE. Thank you!

Posted in 5K, AGS Johnson, Authors for Books, Board, Books, Indonesia, Librarian, Libraries, Sidoarjo, Uncategorized, WIJABA | Leave a comment

WIJABA ‘Authors for Books’ Program launches with Board member and Author AGS Johnson

This month, The World Is Just a Book Away (WIJABA), launches a new program, “Authors for Books”, through which authors choose to donate a portion of their books’ proceeds to WIJABA. We are completely in awe of and grateful to these people and their gift. To kick off, our inaugural author is AGS Johnson, who has graced our blog before, shares some thoughts about the program. Her debut novel, The Sausage Maker’s Daughter, recently won Honorable Mention in the LA Book Festival’s most crowded category of general fiction! Congratulations, AGS Johnson, and thank you!

******

I am so pleased to be the initiating author to launch, in addition to my novel this month, The World Is Just A Book Away’s new program called “Authors for Books”.

I’ve mentioned here, in my book itself, and on agsjohnsonauthor.com, my board memberships on WIJABA as well as on The Council of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles which supports mainly children’s programs in all seventy-three public libraries in Los Angeles. Now, through this new program from WIJABA, my role expands through the launch of “Authors for Books” by which I’ve committed a portion of the proceeds from the sale of The Sausage Maker’s Daughters to the charity’s mission to build libraries for children in developing countries.

Children—both near and far—will have bigger and broader worlds opened to them through books and libraries. Books change lives.

It’s exactly what books did and still do for me. My reading has taken me into the past and future, traveling with amazing characters through unimaginable situations—times and places I could never visit in a hundred lifetimes. I experienced realities well beyond the place and circumstances I happened to be born into, or of those where I happen to live in now.

That is my hope for “Authors for Books”, that children around the globe will have the opportunity through the worlds books open to experience far more than the places where they find themselves. And in expanding their worldview, I hope they as well as all of us will realize how alike we are in our deepest human needs. May children worldwide come to understand our surface differences for what they are, outward differences covering inward similarities. Despite the constant exploitation of our differences, knowledge can at last prevent them from tapping into our human fear of the unknown

******
Follow WIJABA on Facebook, or Twitter (@justabookaway) and invite your friends, too! If you would like to get involved in WIJABA, and support all these creative, educational programs and efforts, please visit www.justabookaway.org or email info@justabookaway.org. To DONATE, please click HERE. Thank you!

Posted in AGS Johnson, Authors for Books, Board, Books, Child, Libraries, Reading, WIJABA | Leave a comment

Words, Books, Discovery…Happy New Year from the Blog Editor!

So here I am, Julie Du Brow, the editor of this blog, as well as the organization’s media relations person, and I’ve been stumped on an angle for writing my own blog contribution! So, I think I’ll simply introduce myself to you all, and tell you why I’m here, proudly working with The World Is Just a Book Away (WIJABA) for the last 3+ years.

The written word, including books and journalism, have always been integral to my life, and I firmly believe that knowledge through reading, and learning to work through one’s own ideas and interpretations of what one has read, is key to creating great people by opening their eyes to what is possible. And giving that opportunity to children is the best place to begin.

Founder James Owens was at my home a few years ago, feeding his tribal art addiction via my beau, a tribal art dealer (and a fellow dedicated reader). I was playing with (aka distracting) James’ young son, and overheard James talking about this book he was working on that gathered contributions from (very) well-known people about ‘why reading was important to them and what books had influenced them’. My ears pricked up. He added that he was planning to start a foundation that would build school libraries, and help spread the love of books and reading. I was hooked, and here we are now . . .

In the interim, the book is not quite out, but WIJABA has rocked the world, or at least Indonesia, to start! Having traveled in the past a few times to Indonesia (prior to my WIJABA involvement), I have an extra-special connection to what WIJABA has accomplished. I know from experience that the Indonesians are warm, giving and grateful people, and seeing the videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/WIJABAtv) of the library Openings just inspires me to do more.

Julie & James

2011 saw WIJABA gain 501(c)(3) status, open many new libraries (including several for parents!), launch the Photography program and annual 5K, install our first Executive Director and incredible new (Advisory) Board members, create new partnerships, refresh our logo, and receive wonderful contributions. 2012 will see many exciting things, including a new website launch, and things I can’t yet reveal!

And I felt very honored this year to be able to keep adding people’s contributions to this Blog. If you haven’t read what people have shared, please take some time in these last few restful days of 2011 to peruse. Every contribution here relates so beautifully the soul of WIJABA’s goals, each in its own way.

I’ll leave you for 2011 with a mix of 10 of my favorite book recommendations—they may not be my Top 10 of all time, but the list hits the sort of mix I love. Would be eager to hear from others what books have had impact on you this year (or in recent memory)! So, in no particular order:

Truman, by David McCullough
The Discoverers, by Daniel J. Boorstin
Levels of the Game, by John McPhee
Banker to the Poor, by Dr. Muhammad Yunus,
Cradle to Cradle, by William McDonough & Michael Braungart
Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–The Essential Guide for Progressives, by George Lakoff
War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
Foucault’s Pendulum or The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco
Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, by J.D. Salinger

ONE last thought — the below happens to be part of a wonderful year-end editor’s letter. The editor is a beautiful writer, and her message is universal.

“Author G.K. Chesterton said that ‘The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul.’

The New Year brings a blank canvass. Opportunity and possibility stand patiently in front of us, offering salvation from what has been and deliverance to what can be. It’s up to us to fill the white space with the vibrant colors of magical living.

While we set benchmarks and resolutions, there is no sojourn in the unfurling of the universe. No breathless moment of silence that determines the transition from last to next. Nonetheless, there is a small pause, a moment of recognition in human consciousness, reminding us that we have the power to abandon last year’s imperfections into the silent limbo of the past and craft a new vision for the future.

Incremental changes can lead to exponential results. Big things happen when small things are perfected. In a time when pleasure has been cheapened, joy has been reduced, and happiness has been computerized, it’s easy to lose sight of the fundamentals that make life so precious.

So this holiday season, I have resolved to remember that the most significant part of writing a book is living the next chapter with authenticity, gratitude, compassion, and love.”
(Credit: http://www.greenbuildermag.com/Blogs/Sara-Gutterman)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

******
Follow WIJABA on Facebook, or Twitter (@justabookaway) and invite your friends, too! If you would like to get involved in WIJABA, and support all these creative, educational programs and efforts, please visit www.justabookaway.org or email info@justabookaway.org. To DONATE, please click HERE. Thank you!

Posted in Board, Books, Child, Indonesia, James J. Owens, Libraries, Parent, Reading, WIJABA | 1 Comment