Britton native Lana Lynn, now of California and founder of Elizabeth’s Library International, points to the new library set to open early next year in Susu Village, Zambia, largely due to donations from Britton area residents. Lynn was in Britton on Thursday and gave a slide presentation of the progress of the new facility.
‘Library Britton Built’ Opening In Early 2021
Britton native and founder of Elizabeth’s Library International (ELI) Lana Lynn talked about a dream very soon to become reality when she visited Britton on Thursday.
That dream is a new library in Susu Village, Zambia, Africa, and Britton area residents have played a critical role in making that library possible.
Contributions from area residents provided funding to purchase land for the new facility and also were critical in constructing the building that is scheduled to officially open in February or March of 2021 and serve about 10,000 people. Clothing has also been donated for Susu Village kids from Marshall County Hutterite Colonies.
Lynn’s love of books and reading was fostered as a child growing up in Britton. She always loved learning and spent many happy hours in the local library reading books on a variety of subjects. When the librarian realized that Lana had read almost all the books in the library, she made arrangements with the State Library system to send books to her on a regular basis.
“I remember so well my excitement the day the first cardboard box arrived at my home and I carefully unpacked the books – one by one,” recalled Lynn. “Every few weeks for many years, I would send a request list to the State Library and shortly after, a new box would arrive at my home – opening the world to me. I never imagined that one day I’d be part of an organization sending cardboard boxes of books around the world to start libraries where there are none.”
At the heart of Elizabeth’s Library International is the desire for both adults and children to have access to learning and educational opportunities that will equip and encourage them to reach their God-given potential. ELI invests in people and their communities by establishing libraries and supporting educational opportunities in underserved areas of the world.
“This is the library that Britton built,” said Lynn, pointing to a picture of the nearly-finished library in her slide presentation on Thursday. “It is a dream coming true, and Susu has become our model for moving into other places.”
Lynn said that Britton area contributions that made the land purchase possible have had a ripple effect across the community. PayPal heard of the project and donated money to put in a new well. Gardens have now been established, a corn crop planted, and a goat herd is being developed. A fish pond and a poultry operation are also in the works.
A mobile book program in which books are transported to about 10 area villages via bicycle is now serving about 5,000 children with about 3,000 books in circulation. Area villagers will walk up to two or three hours just to get a book, and a book has never been lost. There are now 400-500 books housed at the school that teaches 200 students, many which walk two miles to classes each day.
Now a motorcycle is being purchased to enhance that mobile program, and a truck is on the list so that Susu can transport its garden produce to market to help support its new library.
In conjunction with all of its libraries, ELI always establishes an adult literacy program. Currently, 30 adults are learning how to read in Susu Village and four other villages also have adult literacy programs.
Lynn said the library has also lit a fire under villagers to continue to do whatever they can to help their children obtain a solid education. “The people are very vision
ary and their enthusiasm is immeasurable. They want to build a high school and a girls’ boarding school. They estimate that 700 high school students would come and 500 girls.”
A final fundraising project for the library is now nearing completion to install solar panels for the building. The resulting electricity would run computers and also sewing machines for local women.
Lynn points to the huge impact that the library will have on Susu Village and the surrounding area.
“It all started from that land purchase made possible by Britton area residents,” concluded Lynn. “Just think about how many generations will be impacted!”