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Living in for literacy

Queen’s students camp out in Stauffer Library to raise funds for literacy.

Whenever the large doors at the entrance of Joseph S. Stauffer Library open, a cold winter wind whips through the atrium. It’s hardly an ideal location for camping.

However, this is where Queen’s University students Emily Robertson (Artsci’18) and Kathleen Waterston (Artsci’19) have set up their tent in support of Live-In for Literacy. The duo are living, eating, and sleeping in the library entrance for seven consecutive days to raise funds and awareness for world literacy and gender equality in education.

Queen's students Kathleen Waterston (l) and Emily Robertson are camping in Stauffer Library to raise funds for literacy.

This is the 12th year for the event at Queen’s.

“This event began in 2005 in Stauffer Library and each year we look forward to hosting Live-in for Literacy,” says Vice-Provost and University Librarian, Martha Whitehead. “The students’ dedication to building educational facilities and promoting literacy in underdeveloped countries is truly inspiring. These ideas are such a good fit for us at the library, and we're delighted to support this student initiative.”

Along with their tent and sleeping bags a number of resources, including books from around the world, are set up. Ms. Robertson and Ms. Waterston must stay at the campsite for the full week, leaving only to go to class or to shower. In addition to engaging with library patrons, university and community members, the campers will also be holding daily activities including faculty competitions, free tea, and interactive games.

“I lived in Singapore for a few years and Live-In for Literacy was very important,” says Ms. Waterston. “When I came to Queen’s and found out about the program here, I had to get involved.”

All proceeds from Live-In for Literacy support Room to Read and their programs in school and library construction, girls' education, local language publishing, teacher training and curriculum development in developing areas of Asia and Africa.

“I really care about Room to Read and the opportunity to live in the library and provide education is amazing,” says Ms. Robertson. “I really want to raise awareness around this issue.”

Those wishing to donate are asked to visit the campsite during the event or visit the Tilt page.