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Catch a Falling Star: Poster Session at the American Library Association Annual Conference

Pocket Library Poster Session

Catch a Falling Star: Pocket Library poster session at the American Library Association

Doris Gebel, President of the United States Board on Books for Young People, joined Segenat Foundation Board Members Janet Lee and Jane Mirandette, in presenting a poster session during the International Relations Roundtable (IRRT) session at the American Library Association annual conference in Anaheim in June.

Doris Gebel, President, US Board on Books for Young People

The poster featured photos of children reading at the Segenat Children and Youth Library in Mekelle.  It also featured photos of the workshop given by Anne Pellowski, International Board on Books for Young People, during her visit to Mekelle in October 2011.  Pellowski, a renowned author of books on children’s literature and reading techniques, presented two workshops at the Segenat on producing cloth books in first languages.  She has traveled extensively throughout the world presenting workshops on this topic.

A bilingual cloth book (Amharic and English) that was digitized and displayed on an IPad.

Included in the display were bilingual cloth books written in Amharic and English, Amharic being one of the primary languages of Ethiopia.  The cloth books were scanned and printed for increased distribution.  The cloth books also display beautifully on an iPad.

The poster session was named, “Catch a Falling Star and Put it in Your Pocket,” a popular children’s song, as a way of promoting the newly created Pocket Libraries, another of Pellowski’s creative ideas.  Pocket Libraries are easily transportable and can be assigned to neighborhood leaders for use in story times.  Each pocket library can hold up to 100 children’s books, first language materials preferred.

A brightly decorated pocket library hung in the display.  Another type of pocket library, more aptly described as a sling, bore the first line of the Amharic alphabet.  Gebel, and a group of high school home economics students, have sewn a large batch of pocket libraries to be shipped to Ethiopia to serve as models for further production.

Each Pocket Library can hold up to 100 bilingual or first language children’s books.

Poster sessions such as these, allow the presenters to directly interact with the audience, and present a more hand on approach in demonstrating items such as the cloth books, pocket libraries, and brochures.

Doris Gebel with Segenat Foundation Board Member, Jane Mirandette

The Poster Session was well attended by librarians and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from around the world interested in adopting these ideas for future projects.

Janet Lee, Segenat Foundation Board Member, speaks to Henry Mendelsohn, Regional Information Office at the US Embassy in Nairobi.


For the Heart….From the Heart

For the Heart….From the Heart: Pencils from Hillendale Elementary School in Chads Fort, PA to Finote Selam Elementary

In a successful effort to spread “random acts of kindness” students of Hillendale Elementary School in Chads Ford, PA collected 1,430 pencils to share with students at the Finote Selam Elementary School in Finote Selam, Gojam, Ethiopia.  The project was a part of the “For the Heart….From the Heart” campaign that was spearheaded by Hillendale student, Mahalet Tegenu, who introduced the campaign via the school’s closed circuit television.

Through the project, the students learned about the culture and customs of Ethiopia and identified Ethiopia on a map. Third grade students used their math skills to count each and every pencil.  

Mesfin Tegenu hand-carried the donation to Finote Selam, where he joined Abiyu Berlie, currently living in New Jersey.   Ato Abiyu and Ato Mesfin delivered the pencils to Ato Abiyu’s former school, the Finote Selam Elementary School, and distributed them to the children. 

Ato Abiyu met with Keith Keyser, a current Peace Corps Volunteer, and Yohannes Gebregeorgis, Tigray Library and Literacy Development Project, to lay out plans to establish the Finote Selam Children and Youth Library in Finote Selam.  This project is being funded by private donations and a Peace Corps Partnership Grant.

As can be seen from the photos, the students in Finote Selam were quite excited to receive the pencils and the gifts sent by Hillendale Elementary “From the Heart.” 

1,430 pencils were collected by students at Hillendale Elementary School in Chads Ford, PA for students at the Finote Selam Elementary School
Mesfin Tegenu and students with their gifts of pencils from Hillendale Elementary School.
Mesfin Tegenu distributes pencils to the students at Finote Selam Elementary School.
Yohannes Gebregeorgis, Abiyu Berlie, and Keith Keyser meet in Finote Selam to discuss the Finote Selam Children and Youth Library.
Ato Abiyu at his former elementary school with current students.
Students outside of the Finote Selam Elementary School waiting for class to begin.
A young student by a wall mural of a map of the world.