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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.


Cloth Pocket Libraries: A Simple Idea that is Right for Ethiopian Children

Our volunteers in Ethiopia and in the U.S. have been hard at work:  sewing, writing, publishing.  Based on the very successful cloth book workshop conducted at the Segenat Children and Youth Library by Anne Pelowski, International Board on Books for Young People, we have two books at the printer crafted by local authors. These books were fully funded by generous donors.  That enthusiasm has spread across the ocean where quilters with the US Board on Books for Young People have made great progress in crafting pocket libraries.  These pocket libraries will hold approximately 30 locally-produced books that will be loaned to designated neighborhood leaders in city of Mekelle and beyond.  We know how important it is for young children to be able to read stories in their mother tongue.  It is the foundation for later learning as they progress through school and become the leaders of the future.

For those librarians among the readership, please stop by the poster session at the American Library Association conference in Anaheim, CA co-sponsored by the Segenat Foundation and USBBY.  There you will get to see examples of finely crafted cloth books, print copies of these books, and pocket libraries.

My First Counting Book

My First Counting Book: a bilingual number book in English and Amharic.

Hanging Pocket Library

This hanging pocket library will hold up to 30 bilingual children's books to be used by neighborhood leaders for weekly story time.

Cloth Pocket Library

This simple to transport pocket library will hold up to 30 bilingual children's books.


Cloth pocket library

A simple cloth pocket library filled with local language materials ready for use.