Luang Prabang Library
The Luang Prabang Library is a wonderful place to visit and offers the chance for you to give something back to the children of Laos. Many of the children here will be lucky if they ever get to even hold a book which is literally an unaffordable luxury for poor families and schools. In many of the villages, schools themselves are a rarity.
The library works towards providing reading materials to kids in some of the more remote areas by operating two library boats which deliver books to 75 different villages along the Mekong. The boats can only operate due to donations with just $2US buying a book. However if you were to increase that donation to the region of a few hundred dollars, then you will also get the opportunity to pay for fuel and teaching on the boat for a couple of weeks and the chance to get on board and see how your money is being spent.
Tourists are invited to keep the Luang Prabang Library boats on the water and delivering books to schools. You can participate by dropping off a book which the library will then sell on to raise more funds. Alternatively you can buy a map or a souvenir at the library or even buy books to go in a book bag that will be sent to a village.
If you want to bring some books for the children then try and make sure they are school text books. In addition to the boats there are also book bags given to more than 100 surrounding villages with weekend reading activities also taking place for the Khmu schools. The book bags are made from quilted material with pockets in which to place the books, there is a strap attached for the bag to be hung from a tree as there are often no shelves available at the school or village.
Location: The library is located close to the main Luang Prabang night market on Sisavangvong Road opposite the Mai temple and next door to the radio station.
Remarks: Luang Prabang Library also receives some government and foreign charity funding to help Lao children to read. You can also make a donation with 100% of the funds directly given to the children’s library. The library is run by a Head Librarian who is also the Programme Coordinator for Community Learning International, she will be happy to answer any questions you may have and is also responsible for scheduling the boats in addition to running an online blog so you can follow the library’s progress after you’ve departed.