As we have decided that reading tablets are going to be included in our library model, both for primary schools and secondary schools, we organized for a small donation today of ten reading tablets to Precious Blood. These were handed out during morning assembly, with 100 books pre-loaded onto each one (all classics – my favourites of course being Pride and Prejudice and The Christmas Carol).

Contrary to what one might think, we believe that reading tablets are not just appropriate for National and Provincial schools, but are also a fantastic solution for providing books and creating libraries for village schools in Kenya. Not every village school has a the space to store many books. In fact, many schools I have visited don’t even have enough classrooms for every grade, let alone a library. Reading tablets are an excellent way to bring an array of books without the burden of storage logistics. The type we donated, called KOBOs, last up to a month without needing to be recharged, and when it is required, they are hooked up to a solar powered charger that we provide with the donation.

What is so compelling about a KOBO as well, is that books can be added to the individual KOBO account from anywhere in the world, providing that school with new book without the often inhibiting cost of shipping and delivering. So technically, anyone could donate books to that school by loading up say fifty or one hundred new titles onto that specific KOBO. The main catch to this of course is that the KOBOs would have to be hooked up to the internet (wireless). Both Precious Blood and Kenya Fluorspar Primary School have this, but we will need to make sure any other school we donate them to also is capable of accessing the internet.

Needless to say, the girls at Precious Blood were extremely excited and curious about these reading tablets. I can’t wait to see in a few months how often they are used, and how many pages have been read on them (all of which can be tracked on each KOBO). As we are working on our pilots right now, we will need to revisit the use of these reading tablets several times to monitor and assess their impact.