, , , , ,

Not Campbell’s Carrie Rich Memorial Library. Northern Kenya’s mobile library service arrives via camel, bringing books in English, Somali, and Swahili to rural schools that are literally off the beaten track. In a Voice of America story from March 2007, camel herder Omar Dabar Ali explains why camels are better than motorized “bookmobiles” for this terrain:

“The camel plays an important role in this process. The camel is very important in the Somali culture. Also, the camel can pass through small roads that a vehicle cannot pass through.”

I can identify a bit with this story. When I was a kid (ages 6-10), my family lived in a tiny mountain town that had no library. The monthly arrival of the county “bookmobile” was a joyful occasion. Nevertheless, we always had books at school and my family were dedicated readers. Literacy and advancing education in countries like Kenya is essential to their future, but lack of books is a major obstacle. The camel library reaches an under-served people group in a uniquely effective way.

Here’s how to help the Camel Library, if you wish.