On July 16, 2013 – the first anniversary of the official launch of its website, zodml.org – ZODML inaugurated its newest project, the BookCorner, at Girls Junior Secondary Grammar School (GJSGS) in Keffi, Lagos, with the help of shoe designer Kene Rapu, the inaugural BookCorner Ambassador. The BookCorner Project aims to get Nigerian junior and senior secondary school students reading by providing individual schools with 400 books covering various genres such as fiction, biography, and drama, and is in line with the Oasis Libraries initiative which placed mini-libraries in five Ikoyi-Obalende local government primary schools.
The event began with a short welcome by Ifeoma Esiri, the Executive Co-Chair of the ZODML Board of Trustees, who shared details about the project . The books are carefully selected to include a range of classic and contemporary works which will appeal to and inspire teenagers. Along with the books, each school is given two bookcases to store them, a large round table and four chairs to serve as the basis of a mini-library and a place where students can build a community of book-lovers. Aside from borrowing, the students will also have the opportunity to win prizes by writing reviews of the books they read. A brief documentary on the life of Zaccheus Onumba Dibiaezue and the history of ZODML was played for the audience. Mrs Esiri then introduced Miss Rapu, who spoke about her transition from a law degree to a career in fashion and the BookCorner books she had found most inspiring – Leslie Garrett’s Helen Keller, Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls in Love and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Afterwards Blessing Edache, a student of Girls Senior Secondary Grammar School (which has also received a BookCorner), read aloud her impressive review of Chimamanda Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus. The three GJSGS Book Corner prefects – Akinwunmi Tobiloba, Okimiji Abigail and Akingbeyin Aminat – were introduced by Mrs Esiri. Selected by their school’s administration to monitor usage of the BookCorner, they have been trained to run it by Nkechi Nwoji, ZODML’s Chief Librarian and will ensure its success. Ayo Obe, a ZODML Trustee, moderated a question-and-answer session with Miss Rapu. The students excitedly asked her several intelligent questions about her career, the challenges she has faced and what keeps her motivated, and she responded with encouraging advice. Following this, the book corner was officially launched by Miss Rapu.
At the end of the launch, Board of Trustee member Arinze Agbim thanked the guests – including representatives of the Eti Osa Local Government, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Fidelity and Stanbic IBTC banks, NECO and JAMB exam boards, and members of the press. Aunty Ayo Girls Comprehensive, Ireti and Falomo Junior secondary schools will be the next recipients of BookCorners. ZODML aims to partner with corporate organisations to develop the BookCorner initiative and get books into schools across Lagos and the rest of Nigeria. If your organisation is interested in partnering with ZODML, please contact us for details.