Posted on October 1, 2012 by Christopher Thrall

Nancy Goebel is Nairobi-bound again to teach information literacy. Wednesday’s Coins for Kenya: The Amazing Race brought in nearly $1000 to build a library in Ndwara!

By Christopher Thrall

Last fall, Nancy Goebel (BA Music ’88) was invited to Nairobi to work with librarians from the AgaKhan University system. Margaret Law, Associate Director of International Relations for the University of Alberta Libraries, asked our Head Librarian at Augustana to help the local librarians develop their skills and create strategies to support student research.

“Margaret spearheads so many international initiatives for University of Alberta librarians,” explained Nancy. “Her work helps support libraries around the world and brings unique collections and resources back to the University as a result.” Nancy was delighted to accept the invitation and led workshops of participants from AgaKhan Universities across Africa and the Middle East, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uganda and Kenya.

“They had a passion for their library work, and most specifically in helping students develop information literacy skills,” Nancy said. Information literacy skills are skills which help individuals be effective in finding, using and evaluating information in their research and in their lives. “I have been fortunate to have librarian and teaching faculty colleagues at the Augustana Campus who have shared and supported my passion for information literacy and its role in a holistic university education. Because of this, I am in the favourable position of being able to share my experience in the area of information literacy with others.”

While she was in Nairobi, Nancy met a librarian who is working with Margaret Law to build a library in his community of Ndwara, Kenya. Inspired by the vision, Nancy initiated the “Coins for Kenya” project, accepting donations at drop boxes around Augustana for the African library. When Nancy returns to Nairobi this fall, she will be visiting the 1500-person village in western Kenya where the library is to be built once enough funds have been raised. There are schools, churches and a university college nearby – but the nearest library is 60 km from the town.

The Ndwara Community Resource Centre will serve the whole of Nyangoma Division in Bondo District, providing information services to the rural population by sourcing, processing, availing and disseminating timely and accurate information resources to the population. It will also have space for children, senior citizens, a cultural section and a main reading hall.

Nancy has been asked to return to Africa In the fall of 2012 to continue teaching. She will be sure to share stories about the AgaKhan program and Ndwara library progress when she returns.

Coins for Kenya: The Amazing Race!

Before she leaves again for Africa, Augustana is holding a fundraising competition for students vs. faculty, and the winners are the people of Ndwara!

The competition will start at the entrance to the Library on Wednesday, October 3 @ 9:30am and run until 5:30pm. The competition will be two-fold: will student or faculty coins form the longest coin line? Who’s coin line will raise the most funds?

Look for the tape lines on the floor in the Forum and place your coins (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies, toonies – they will all work!) on your line. Cheer on your friends, boo your enemies and win the Amazing Race!


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