The newest Seraj Library is planned for a village in the Jordan Valley, an area of the West Bank designated Area C in which Israel has total control. Due to years of occupation and the spread of Israeli settlements, Palestinian villages here are generally small and often impoverished. Discussions with several villages began in early 2016. This newest Seraj Library, created in honor of Jim and Mary Eleanor Wall, will be accessible to children throughout the Jordan Valley. It is a cooperative effort with the village of Jeflik, Jordan Valley Solidarity, and Sanabel Al Reef women's organization.
In partnership with the Municipal Council and the Children Club, The library was launched in 2009. In Kufor Ni’meh they created a program, which is the first of its kind in Palestine, called “My Father Reads to Me.” They wanted to get the parents involved in the library so that the children would be more inclined to come. The first person to read was the village mayor, followed on a regular basis by other fathers in the village.
In 2013 we inaugurated our sixth library in the Aida refugee camp, located in Bethlehem. Aida is one of 19 refugee camps located in the West Bank and is home to 6,000 people, 4,000 of whom are under the age of 18. Aida residents are refugees, having fled villages that are now part of Israel. Our partner in this location is the Al-Ruwwad Cultural and Theater Society located in the heart of the camp.
The Deir Amar library was opened in 2010 in partnership with “Life Organization”. As it is housed in a building that also provides other services to refugee residents. Many visit the facility every day giving the library welcome exposure and usage.
In partnership with “Jifna Women Charitable Society”, the library was launched in 2007. When it was first opened, many villagers were skeptical that children would willingly come to a library to read after school. But they were pleasantly surprised! In fact, so many children come to study, read, or receive help with their homework that the room is overflowing. We allocated new funds to move the library to a bigger location.
In partnership with the Municipality of Al-Mizra’a Al-Sharqiyyeh and its Youth Club, this library was launched in 2012. It is primarily supported by a generous donation from Mrs. Colleen Jersild who made this gift in memory of her father, Clyde M. Campbell, a nationally recognized educator. It is our largest and most well-equipped library.
In partnership with the Latin Catholic Church in Taybeh, the only Christian town remaining in Israel or the West Bank, a library was launched in 2011 with primary support from the people of St. Lukes Episcopal Church in Evanston, IL. It is the first library in which we introduced, right from the beginning, a multimedia center: computers and internet, movie shows and a CD collection.
We are thrilled to have opened our 7th library in the village of Burham, a small village near Ramallah. This library serves the residents of Burham and it's neighboring village Jibyia, as well as part of Birzeit. Our partner in this library is the Burham Charitable Society, led by an enthusiastic and active group of women from both villages.
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Seraj Library Project