On March 12 and 13, BiblioWorks, CESATCH, and Project K’ayamanta hosted a library training workshop in the community of Yamparaez, conducted by two library trainers from the Central Mennonite Committee in Santa Cruz.
Central Mennonite Committee (CCM) is a program based in Santa Cruz, in the eastern part of Bolivia, that has been working with libraries in Santa Cruz for 20 years. Through their library program, they are available for training in libraries in other parts of Bolivia. We invited them to Sucre for a couple of days to give a 2-day training course on the basic use of a library. There were about 20 participants from the community of Yamparaez, between teachers, the Mayor’s office, and high school students. The other 15 participants were invited from close-by communities where BiblioWorks and Project K’ayamanta have other library projects. K’ayamanta is a year-long project whose primary purpose is to work with youth rights and education. Seeing the need and importance of a library in Yamparaez, they contributed to the BiblioWorks/CESTACH library by providing furniture and books, along with some other materials. They also helped host this library workshop, by providing room and board for the 35 participants.
Trainers Anita Zandstra and Sandra Sanchez made the library workshop a very dynamic, exciting event. Participants were taught about the roles of the librarian by enacting short, humorous skits where one group portrayed an example of a poor librarian and the next group portrayed a model librarian. Groups from different libraries are also given the chance to talk about specific challenges and concerns that they face in their community libraries.
Participants left the workshop with a better understanding of how a library works and the responsibility involved. They learned activities that they can do in their communities to promote the library and to bring students to the library. Teachers also became familiar with the books and ways that they can incorporate the library materials into their lesson plans.
Not only did the participants learn about the basics of a library, they also learned activities to promote literacy. That is one of the biggest challenges in Bolivia, where the idea of a rural library is relatively new and where the majority of reading is just to complete homework assignments and research. In the workshop, there was a moment were everyone closed their eyes and Sandra Sanchez read a story aloud. Keeping the eyes closed allows the imagination to flow, a great activity that teachers can do with their students to get them excited about reading books for personal enjoyment. There was also an activity where each group was given a poem; they then had to cut images out of a magazine to portray how the poem made them feel.