Camberwell-based library development charity Book Aid International is to extend its Children’s Corners project into Zambia later in 2015, it was revealed this week.

The project, which is called Open Doors, aims to create spaces for children to read, play and learn in 60 public libraries in Africa. The charity has already established 21 Open Doors Children’s Corners in Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi (supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery) and Cameroon and is now preparing to begin work in Zambia in September this year.

Alison Hubert, Director of Book Aid International said: “We are delighted to be able to announce the expansion of our Open Doors project to Zambia later this year. We have already seen the benefit of establishing Children’s Corners in public libraries and we know that this next tranche of the project will have a huge impact for thousands of children in Zambia, opening doors to a lifetime of literacy, learning and opportunity.

“At Book Aid International, we know just how important it is for children to have safe, engaging spaces in which they can begin to explore reading from a young age. Many of the children who benefit from Open Doors Children’s Corners have no other access to books, either at home or in school, so these spaces really do provide a unique opportunity for them to improve their reading skills and develop a love of books.”

The Open Doors project creates areas within libraries that children can use freely. Each Children’s Corner receives 2,500 new, carefully selected children’s books from the UK, funding to purchase around 350 locally published books in local languages, a grant for small refurbishments and training for two librarians to help them engage with the children and reach out to the wider community.

Abdu Sseggane, the Librarian in a Ugandan Children’s Corner established by Book Aid International in 2014 said: “Before, the community had a perception that the library was for older people. There was no way a kid could go and visit the library when there were older people there. Now they have a separate section, they feel free to read and enjoy, and this has helped them improve their literacy skills.”

The new phase of the project will see Children’s Corners established in six public libraries in Zambia in Mongu, Choma, Mansa, Solwezi, Chipata and Kasama.

Book Aid International works in 11 African countries and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to distribute books and learning resources and to train librarians. The charity partners with local library services and communities to provide safe, engaging spaces to access books and reading. Visit for more information.

Featured image is of a Children’s Corner already established in Uganda.