The Access Language Center, Sparkling the Candles of Readers
The Access Language Center in Biougra, Morocco, just opened a couple months ago and is already holding literacy and reading activities for the whole community and all ages. We're helping out with their public library. Here's an update from Ali.
by Ali Amhal
I am a Moroccan EFL professional, teaching English since 2007. As an active member of ELT professional associations, I've known hundreds of teachers across Morocco. We all have the same worries, and scarcity of books in English is always at the top of the list.
Thanks to Morocco Library Project (MLP), a number of teachers have stopped complaining about this matter, simply because Barb Mackraz, founder of MLP, has been supplying them with interesting, high-quality books. I have proudly been part of this project since 2015 when I started receiving books from Barb and her team. She visited my classroom in 2017, which was a special day and a real turning point for my class. Ever since then, we have had a classroom library where we've been holding activities, including reading clubs, literature circles, and environmentally oriented projects. Even our pedagogical meetings with our supervisor are often held there.
Recently, our collaboration has grown more ambitious, and we successfully created a public library. We're jointly working hard with partners to make this library a space for cultural exchange, dialogue, reading, and many other activities including environmental and community service ones. MLP is providing high-quality books in all levels and all genres, so that anyone who comes into the library can find something to pique their interest.
One of the activities of our library space is literature circles. Every week, we hold literature circles where participants come together to read, analyze, discuss, share, and think globally and act locally. This includes both local high school students and others who went to school in Biougra in the past. Many young people are returning to Biougra for this because it's an
activity and a resource not found elsewhere.
We believe that bringing people together to read and discuss as a group is one of the best ways to inspire a culture of reading and to boost critical thinking!
The library has materials for all ages, including picture books for children and beginning books for the youngest readers. The organization Riad Souss is supplying French books, so we're able to hold language and reading activities in both English and French. For managerial concerns, we've managed to recruit a librarian. We have also created a check-out application and a library card in an attempt to guarantee sustainability.
We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude. Without your help and support, we would not be able to make this dream come true. We are proud of collaborating with you, Morocco Library Project, and are looking forward to more cooperation.
People do need help and if come together as one, great things can be achieved.
About the Author
Ali Amhal is an English teacher at Ibn Sina High School in Biougra, the founder of the Access Language Center, and a long-time member of the Morocco Library Project (MLP) management team. He is also a member of the OliveSeed board.
Ali participates in multiple programs boosting English, including MoRCE-net and the International School Award. He is passionate about challenging his students to think critically and to expand their horizons and awareness.