Libraries and Developing Worlds – Mark Cotham and James J. Owens

Monday, April 16th, 2018

4:00 pm - 5:30 pm, ASC 207

Monday, April 16, 2018  4-5:30

 ASC (Annenberg School of Communication) Room 207

Sponsored by the  Annenberg Network on International Communication

& USC Libraries


James J. Owens, The World is Just a Book Away is a children’s literacy non-profit organization based in Santa Monica, CA. Since 2008, WIJABA has established nearly 100 libraries, launched 2 mobile libraries (serving 100 primary schools), and developed a horse library program. WIJABA also has an environmental education initiative in partnership with Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots that will reach more than 11,000 children at 300+ schools in 2018. In total, the charity’s combined efforts have touched the lives of 80,000+ children in Indonesia, Mexico, and the US. Owens is also a full-time faculty member at the USC Marshall School of Business and editor of The World is Just a Book Away, an anthology about how books and reading inspired 60 of the world’s most prominent people.

Mark Cotham, The Good Steward Global Initiative is a nonprofit that gather books, sorts and ships books in Houston, Texas primarily to locations in Africa (and Jamaica).  The NGO has established libraries in NW Uganda (200+ school, 30 community, 10 prison libraries), Malawi (7 community), Kenya (12-mixed school and community), Zambia (7 community-to be this September)  and 7 school libraries in Jamaica. We  work primarily to recycle books and ship them in cargo containers.   Individual donations and library discards turn to knowledge and activities resources.

Things to Think On:

                What are the roles of libraries in developing worlds?  How do libraries in places that have not had access to books develop?  How can used books and curated collections be shipped to create bonds of exchange and friendship?  What are the challenges, frustrations and rewards of participating in or building a supply chain? Others?  What are the relations among developing wor[l]ds? Our two speakers will present independent initiatives, leaving time reserved for questioning and discussion by our audience.  Faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates invited.