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Timor-Leste: Books for Asia Launches First English Community Library in Dili, a Second Branch is Dedicated on Atauro Island

Dili, May 27, 2009 — The Asia Foundation’s office in Timor-Leste, along with the local leaders of Suco Bairro Pite, Motael, and Kuluhun in Dili District, inaugurated the first-ever English Community Library in Dili. At the same time, a second English community library was dedicated on Atauro Island, 30 km north of Dili.

Responding to requests from the communities and community leaders, the library will serve the needs of patrons with brand new reading materials. For the Community Libraries inaugurated today, The Foundation provided bookshelves and books, including children’s books, reference texts, and topics covering history, mathematics, and general science.

At the ceremony, Silas Everett, the Foundation’s Representative, stated, “The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program intends to distribute more books to the community so that citizens have access to reading materials and information, and so that they may enhance their knowledge and skills.” The new libraries will also promote literacy within the community.

The inauguration of the Community Library was attended by community leaders, parents, and students from Suco Bairro Pite, Dili. After the ceremony, the students were allowed to read the books and enthusiastically thanked the Foundation.

In his remarks, Mr. Joao Batista, Chefe de Suco of Bairro Pite, thanked the Foundation’s effort in establishing the library, which, according to him, will serve the need of his communities by providing reading materials.

During the ceremony, a community member suggested that the Foundation could also establish additional English-language libraries in other rural areas of Dili that have difficulty accessing libraries and reading material. In response< Silas Everett stated that the Foundation is willing to work together with the community in establishing additional community libraries.

While in Suco Motael, the Foundation’s Unit Manager Hugo Fernandes, in his remarks, stated that the books provided should benefit the Motael communities by accessing the reading materials which will provide information and also entertainment. He added  that he hopes that the Suco Leader will maintain the library and providing wide access to the library especially for the children

In Suco Kuluhun, Mr. Francisco M. Ribeiro, the Suco Leader, stated that the Community Library is important in promoting a culture of reading and that reading will stimulate the students to learn for their future.

Since 2004, The Asia Foundation has distributed 60,000 books in Timor-Leste to about 130 organizations, including public schools, universities, NGO’s, government agencies, religious agencies and other non-profit organizations. Donated by American publishers annually, The Asia Foundation distributes books and education materials across all of Timor Leste’s 13 districts.

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