About us

The real problems of poverty, exclusion, and injustice will only ultimately be solved by empowering people to learn, produce, and contribute as opposed to perpetuating a culture of dependence.

The Asella Public Library also referred to, as the Asella Learning Centre is a project to provide reading materials and access to educational information for the Asella community. Through this project, we wish to provide a wide range of current educational information to help foster reading habits, strengthen academic excellence, and nurture creativity among children, youth and adults in the community. 

Ethiopian born Canadian Michael Alemu had a dream to open a library in his community of Assela. His friends and colleagues from Ethiopia, Canada and USA helped and a small library in a rented house opened in 2014.  Books were brought by friends from various locations, including Michael’s own collections in suitcases, boxes, and bags to start the first library in Wolkessa Kebele 10.

We wanted to create a place where students can come in a quiet place to study, use reference books, and novels, or work on their homework. What began with 150 members and 800 books has grown to 2200 members, and over 30,000 books.

  1. We want to create an environment that is conducive for learning:
  2. Develop an inventory of books that is reflective of academic profile in the area, i.e. elementary schools, secondary schools, Technical and     Vocational Institutions, and Universities.
  3. Provide e-readers in the form of tablets, which make accessing additional resources available including fiction, non-fiction and academic.
  4. Provide computers with the potential to have access to online journals by developing a relationship with local universities.
  5. Expand accessibility to the library for the general population;
    • Increase the potential for improved literacy rates, by fully implementing a membership system which will allow books to be checked out of the library, and available in local residents homes
    • Develop data base of users geographic location through memberships that will provide information on where satellite locations       should be situated in the future.
    • Secure books, magazines and resources (fiction and non fiction) that is efective of the general population.
  6. Develop a learning area dedicated to children
    • Secure books relevant to pre school children and develop a creative area for them to explore and experiment with written books, tablets, and coloring books, to spark an interest in learning at a young age.
    • Create a section where children feel comfortable and allows learning to be fun.

We are registered through local Ministry of Culture and Tourism Office as a community service. The library is managed by Michael and a team of staff and volunteers.  We are aiming to build this library as the most up-to-date learning centre in the region.


Purpose & Impact

We believe the library creates a place for students to increase their knowledge, complete their homework well, and study and problem solve with other learners. Adults also can explore and expand their world through reading, computers and the Internet. We want to help youth and entrepreneurs to develop business plans or prepare resumes, or research market trends. Patrons will read about various social and health issues, understand and cope with difficulties associated with poverty, and hopefully respond knowledgeably to issues they encounter in life. 

Meseret, a grade 10 student comes to library regularly. She reads reference and academic books related to her studies, and said she doesn’t see any limitations with the books available here. The library is playing a part in her education and dream to become a doctor, she said. “When I read I will get good academic results. This will contribute to my vision to become a doctor.”

“Everything starts as
somebody's daydream.”