May 27, 2022

Report: Arizona State University Professor’s Solar-Powered Library is Transforming Global Education

From ASU:

In just five years, an Arizona State University student engineering project has grown into a global humanitarian mission that is now poised to transform the way health care is delivered.

SolarSPELL began when Laura Hosman, an associate professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, challenged her engineering students to create a solar-powered library that would fit into a backpack. Now the initiative has distributed hundreds of digital libraries filled with educational resources to communities in nine countries that have limited or no internet connectivity.

“Over half the world’s population has never connected to the internet and has no internet access,” said Hosman, the co-founder and director of SolarSPELL, which stands for solar powered educational learning library.

And when there is internet, it’s not like in Western countries.

“They don’t have unlimited access. It’s slow, it’s on their phone and they pay for it by the byte.”


The genius of SolarSPELL is the incredibly simple and inexpensive design — the parts cost less than $200.

[Clip] The true value of SolarSPELL is the carefully curated content. Each memory card holds reading and math tutorials, science projects, health information or English lessons that are chosen specifically for each location. The content can be provided by the local community, drawn from open-source text and videos that are available for free on the internet or taken from textbooks that are used with permission.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article

Direct to SolarSpell Website

See Also:Conference Paper: The SolarSPELL Offline Digital Library (June 24, 2018)

See Also: Providing Digital Information in Places with Limited or No Access: Library and Internet Organizations Announce “The Tempe Principles” (February 19, 2018)

See Also: Arizona State University’s SolarSPELL Program “Delivers Digital Libraries to Tonga” (December 6, 2016)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.