United Technologies opens 300 libraries in Chinese elementary schools

Updated: 2015-01-20 06:43

By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York(China Daily USA)

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United Technologies opens 300 libraries in Chinese elementary schools

Children gather outside the library at the Mai Di Village Elementary School in Jianyang city, Sichuan province, last year. The library was the 300th donated via a project funded by United Technologies Corp in partnership with The Library Project.Provided to China Daily

More students in China this year will experience the same thrill that has captivated pupils in other rural elementary schools when a new student library opens as part of a project funded by United Technologies Corp (UTC).

Working closely with the US-based nonprofit The Library Project, UTC will continue its involvement by committing $300,000 toward building student and teacher libraries in China this year.

"The project opened 100 libraries in 2014, and hopefully it will do the same in 2015," said Randy Bumps, UTC's director of community affairs.

Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies' business units include Carrier, which makes air conditioners; Otis, the elevator company; and Pratt & Whitney, a maker of aircraft engines.

According to Bumps' staff, The Library Project identifies schools in China that need libraries. "Most of the schools are located in rural areas where financing resources for a project like this are limited," he told China Daily.

After a school is chosen, UTC's employees help set up the facility.

"Our employees donate their time to paint the room, assemble the bookshelves and set up tables and chairs," said Bumps. "After the library is opened, the employees will also show up and volunteer to read books to the children."

The UTC China Library Project opened its 300th library in the Mai Di Village Elementary School in Jianyang city, Sichuan province, last October.

"The 300 libraries symbolize UTC's efforts to build sustainable and vibrant communities in China and the world by promoting education and empowering the younger generations," Liping Xie, president of UTC China Aerospace and Government Relations, said in a statement. "I am also excited to see another great milestone achieved in our employee involvement in volunteerism and community service with the completion of the 300th student library."

UTC employees in China have volunteered more than 700 hours and equipped 300 student libraries and 80 teachers' libraries with 193,750 books, benefiting more than 65,000 students and nearly 4,000 teachers across 12 provinces in China.

UTC's first collaboration with The Library Project dates to 2009, with a library donation made by a group of Pratt & Whitney China employees. They donated two student libraries to elementary schools in Anhui province. Since 2011, UTC's aerospace units – Pratt & Whitney, UTC Aerospace Systems and Sikorsky – have established a long-term partnership with The Library Project.

The Library Project, based in Phoenix, Arizona, started in 2006 with two library donations and has grown into an organization that on average donates one library a day to rural elementary schools, orphanages and community centers in China and Vietnam.

"It's amazing to continue the momentum of The Library Project this year with UTC in China," said Tom Stader, founder and executive director of The Library Project, in a statement. "Along with the expansion of the program coverage, the children not only benefited from the access to a broader range of knowledge, local teachers also obtained additional channels for educational resources. That makes our joint efforts a sustainable community approach."