Local organization works to help build first library in Liberia

A Miami Valley organization is working to build the first and one of its kind library in Liberia, Africa.

Children of Liberia, who don’t have access to a public library, now get the chance to enjoy books that have been sent to them by Dayton’s Darius Ricks, who is a native of Liberia.

“The way they receive the book, the way they were excited. That alone, it breaks me down because it’s just a book, but it means so much to them,” Ricks said.

The idea for “Library for Africa” started in 2018 when Rick’s saw his former Dayton Job Corps Center teacher, Veleta Jenkins, getting rid of old books and asked if he could mail them home instead.

“I was like, ‘you have got to be kidding me. There’s no public library in the whole country?’ And he said no,” Jenkins said.

The two then decided to build a tech-based library on two acres of land in Liberia.

Since Library for Africa started, it has already received help from local libraries.

Dayton Public Library has donated more than seven boxes filled with books to the organization.

“We have to level the playing field because every child should have the opportunity to receive education, and that’s what I want to give them. That’s what the library will do. Libraries can change lives,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins says they looking to raise $350,000 to go towards building the library.

Ricks says they are going to train people to use the electronic devices at the library.

“We are going to provide a three day education every week. Free of charge. Free computer knowledge,” Ricks said.

He says the hard work will be worth it knowing he is giving each person a chance to succeed.

“I believe everybody should have equal opportunity. That’s why I get passionate when I see people in certain positions. I want to make sure life is OK for them,” Ricks said.

For more information on the organization, visit libraryforafrica.org.