I’ve been traveling for the last week with Women Artisans of Morocco: Their Stories, Their Lives author Susan Schaefer Davis. We’ve been visiting many of the artisans featured in her book on our third ClothRoads/Thrums Books textile tour. Susan has been leading our small group of textile travelers through the mountains and markets of this fabulous country. As we’ve traveled over the High Atlas Mountains into the land of the Amazighen people, also known as Berbers, I’ve been thinking about books of all things.
A couple of months ago, I learned about the Morocco Library Project founded by Barb Mackraz. Her Project is dedicated to developing English libraries at public high schools in rural communities of Morocco. The libraries are primarily in Berber communities in desert and mountain areas.
It all started during a 2013 vacation to Morocco when Barb happened to visit a one-room schoolhouse and had a vision of creating a much-needed library for the students there. A few months later, after Barb had gathered a collection of books in English, she traveled back to Morocco to the desert town of Erfoud and established the first library of the Morocco Library Project. Since 2014, Barb and her team of volunteers and donors have established more than thirty libraries, including a mobile library in the Sahara.
Barb says, “Our mission is to help teachers inspire a love of learning and culture of reading, and to spark a passion for the positive possibilities that lie ahead for this generation. It’s a privilege to work in this part of the world with teenagers who never previously had books for pleasure reading but are embracing this resource with all their heart.” Nezha, a 16-year-old student from Erfoud says it this way, “Reading is the most beautiful thing in life, simply because it is our window to the wide world out there and a bridge between cultures east and west.”
As we met with the Berber women artisans featured in Susan’s book, shared a meal together, saw their most recent weaving projects, I was reminded again of the way that books can be a bridge between two worlds.
Discover more about the Morocco Library Project and learn how you can donate a book, volunteer, and support.
Thrums Books, a bridge between cultures