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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Looking after books in Africa

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This post is about how one how to guide has just been reborn to help readers in Africa get their hands on more books. Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).  

Back in 1994 I wrote a book for Voluntary Service Overseas called Setting up and running a school library. It did really well for VSO - was used by loads of their volunteers, hopefully leading to more books being shared and read all over the world. By 1999 it had sold 20,000 copies. It was even translated into Malaysian.

I did the work from a rented student flat in what was then a grotty part of east London, Dalston. I remember writing the book chilled to the bone after spending two years in the South Pacific (volunteering for VSO).

My real babies pretending to eat books - that's
how much they love to read.
Writers sometimes describe their books as babies. Certainly some books have a life of their own. Not long after Setting up and running a school library was published (by this time I'd moved to live in Oxford) the book was translated into Malaysian and found its way into many of their schools.

Roll on timeNow a US organisation called the African Library Project has just done a revamp of the content so "my" book has a new look, new content and a new name - How to Set Up and Run a Small Library in Africa.The NGO - its remit is "saving lives, book by book" - is currently focusing on Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Malawi and Ghana.

The "new" book is available as a pdf from here. I'm thrilled to see this second, perhaps third, life for a library guide from an organisation that by the end of 2012 had started 894 libraries in Africa (boasting around 950,000 books).

So here's good luck to all readers, and an extra pat on the back to anyone who is managing a library in the tropics, however small their book collection is. Sometimes it seems every insect is against you!

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