Thursday, October 8, 2015

Building a Children’s Library in Ghana

By reporter Ellie Herrmann
The Oracle newspaper at Stratford High School

Photo courtesy of The Oracle
Stratford High School sophomore Taran Morford undertook a remarkable project recently – building a library for children in Ghana, a developing country in eastern Africa.

Morford is working on earning his Eagle Scout Award, the highest honor possible in the Boy Scouts of America. After two years of careful planning and collecting books, he set out for Ghana during the Sept. 5-6 weekend, and then he spent two weeks in the region helping children create their own library.

Along with his mother and grandfather, Morford prepared for the trip by collecting 4,000 books and shipping 3,000 volumes to Ghana. He also invented a simple way for children to check out books.

Before he left the United States, Morford talked with Stratford High reporter Ellie Herrmann and answered a few questions about his project – where he’d be staying, who all helped him this undertaking, and where his inspiration came from.

Taran Morford Interview (Short Version)

Q: Can you give me a brief summary of what you’re doing, where you’re going, who you’re helping, etcetera?

A: For my Eagle Project, I am going with my grandparents to East Ghana [for two weeks], where there is a small school that is slowly adding onto their school. So far they have built a library, but have not been able to get books. I, with the help of the community—schools, Girl Scouts, and book shops—I’ve been able to collect 4,000 books and have been able to ship 3,000 of them.

Q: What are you going to do with the extra 1,000 [books]?

A: With the extra 1,000 that I wasn’t able to ship, I donated them to a mothers’ and children’s shelter.

Q: When you said ‘with the help of the community,’ who all did you mean?

A: Girl Scouts, Spring Forest [Middle School] helped a lot, and bookshops, like Blue Willow Bookshop had a donation box.

Q: You’re going to East Ghana, to a small school there. So you’re going with your grandparents?

A: My grandparents and my mother. My mother and grandfather go for a photoshoot, because during September there’s a big Ghanaian Kente festival, which Kente is a type of cloth. While they’re there, I’m going to be at the school teaching them how to organize and use a library system. I’ve set up a library system inside each book.

Q: Are you going to use a typical library system, like the Dewey Decimal System?

A: No, I’ve gone to older systems to make it simpler for them. I’ve put envelopes in the back of each book and have a check out card, and I’m taking boxes so they can take out the cards, put them, and check each book out.

Q: Why do you want to do this? What do you hope to learn and accomplish?

A: I haven’t had the opportunity to go there before, but I’ve heard stories and seen pictures, and I’m really excited to go see the kids, and work with them, and see how they react to the books, and I’m really excited to give them this library.

Q: What are you most apprehensive about, least excited for, or worried about the most?

A: I thought I would be worried about school work, missing two weeks of school is kind of stressful. But all my teachers have been really helpful and have worked with me and decided that I’m going to be fine.


  1. Such an awesome project and fabulous young man! Way to go, Taran. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of it. - Girl Scout Troop 18502

  2. Wow, what an impressive young man!


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