Finland’s Ambassador to China Lars Backstrom and his wife, Brigitta, joined local officials at the Limin School for migrant workers’ children last weekend for the launch of a mobile library.
The bookmobile, donated by the Finnish elevator company Kone, will be at the suburban Beijing school for about 10 days before hitting the road, visiting other migrant schools in about 10 of China large cities each school year.
“Tiny Finland has about 250 mobile libraries that visit rural areas of the country for the same purpose,” says Tiina Herlin of Kobe’s Centennial Foundation. Children at resource-pool migrant schools will get reading lessons from volunteers and, when possible, a donated bookshelf with about 5,000 books to start their own reading rooms.
“So the mobile library volunteers aren’t just bringing and taking away,” says Backstrom. “They are leaving knowledge behind wherever they go.”
Herlin says the program is designed to inspire copycats around China and elsewhere.