Welcome on MEDiakitab blog. This program aims at sharing information and ressources dedicated to reading and writing practices, from story telling to digital form, in the Euro-Mediterranean space.

MEDiakitab association, located in Marseille, is in charge of administrating the blog. Contents are a reflection of the activities, analysis and knowledge developped by the network members.


The Little Reader of Oran

Logo © Le Petit Lecteur

The « little reader of Oran » was founded in 1993, soon after the establishment of the freedom of association to promote children and young literature and reading in Algeria. At the begining of the 1990’s, Algeria was facing the growth of Islamic fundamentalism. Some parents felt concerned with books available for their children. They wanted them to discover « the reading enjoyment », as an alternative to the more common « school or religious reading ».

Since its inception, the association was offering reading sessions in public space, thanks to the support of local associations, parents, educators, teachers and psychologists. At the present time, the library of the Little Reader offers more than 15 000 books, in Arabic and French for the 750 children that registered. Since its creation, the association has witnessed 3 different periods, with flagship initatives.


The activist period

Children library © Le Petit Lecteur

The first years, during the 1990’s, were strongly shaped by the commitment and proactive involvement of the members. During the black decade, the governement supported mainly charitable and sport organisations. In these circumstances of decline and lack of subsidies, many volunteers were ofering time and books. In 1994, the first flagship initiative was a national drawing competition named « Do you want reading ? Do you like reading ? Just tell me with a drawing ! ». It aimed at making the association known and stimulating a dynamic initiative for reading. The association received more than 750 drawings from all over Algeria, when the jury president, the late AbdelKader Alloula, was killed, one week before the selection meeting. Despite the shock and the departure of several people, the association continued to develop. It got the first reading space in 1994, in partnership with the regional library of Oran and managed to get a small subsidy in 1995 to buy the first suppply of books. Similarly, in 1997, the association launched a writing competition : « writing for children », to encourage Algerian creation for children and young people. Five stories, among the fifty stories, received awards.

Story telling at the heart of the project

Story telling festival © French Institute of Oran

The second period, at the begining of the 2000’s, has enabled to develop cultural projects related to books and stories. For instance, an international book fair, named « what book for the the year 2000 ? » was organised and sponsored by Mohamed Dib. During two weeks, it attracted a large number of visitors coming from Oran and the surroundings. Then in the year 2003, new funding arrived from the EU, named NGO 1. They contributed to professionalize the team and to create  a new children library. In 2006, the association launched a story telling festival, that will celebrate in 2016 the tenth edition. It has gathered story tellers from different countries to share their stories in different languages. For Zoubida Kouti, founding member and president : « beyond the festive moment of exchange, the festival raise the question of orality and memory… Whereas story telling is suffering from a lack of artistic recognition in Algeria, each year the visitors have reactions of surprise and wonder ».

Sharing and disseminating

In the last few years, the little Reader developped disseminating actions. In partnership with the public authorities, the association wishes to share its experience and to promote a national policy in terms of public libraries. In this sense, the libris network was launched in 2008 and gathered 20 libraries and documentary centres and 17 libraries of the municipal cultural centres. In this context, training and sharing actions have been offered during two years and could take over in a more formal framework. Similarly, different organisations asked for support in launching children and young libraries in other wilayas, in Saïda, Sidi Bel Abbes and Aïn Sifra .

Finally, the association is considering setting up a resource centre for children and oral litterature in Maghreb, Machrek and Africa, hosted in the « Center for storytelling », founded in 2004 in order to promote storytelling as an art.

Contact :

Zoubida Kouti
President of « The little reader »

Consultant in cultural project ingineering



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