Over the summer, a 40-foot, 17,000-pound shipping container full of materials arrived in Chile and was transported over the Andes Mountains into Sucre, Bolivia. With the help of BiblioWorks staff and volunteers, 15 pallets of furniture and 10,000 books were unloaded and sorted. Our new libraries in Villa Serrano and Yamparaez received their books and furniture by the middle of July and officially opened at the end of the summer.
Sucre, the capital of Bolivia, is a city of approximately 250,000 people. Despite the fact that Yamparaez is located only 20 miles from Sucre, this community did not have a library before now. It is also surprising that Villa Serrano with a total population of 4,000 people and 1000 students, did not have a library either. BiblioWorks opened each of these libraries with approximately 1000 books, library furniture, world maps, and TV/DVD players for educational videos. We were also able to give the library in Yamparaez much needed computers. Teachers and students were excited about the selection of books that came all the way from the US to stock their libraries – Houghton Mifflin textbooks, American classics, and childrens’ books. BiblioWorks also worked with the Banco del Libro and the US Embassy in Bolivia to coordinate additional donations of Bolivian history books and literature, and books about US culture (for more information about these events, please click here).
Thanks to the help of local authorities, Peace Corps volunteers, schoolteachers and students, each library is now opening on a regular basis and providing services to children, teenagers, and adults in these poor rural communities. The libraries are supported by a local Library Committee designed to help run and sustain their libraries. BiblioWorks is working with these Library Committees to ensure that each librarian receives adequate training, and teach them how to organize events that instill community interest in their libraries. We are proud to say that, to date, Villa Serrano boasts an average of 60-70 library users per day and Yamparaez is conducting small computer classes for students.
Although we are really excited about the work that we’ve accomplished this year, the biggest challenge facing us now is how to ensure the sustainability of our two newest libraries and four previous libraries. All of the communities where we work have expressed an enormous need for local school curriculum texts in the libraries for students’ homework assignments. Also, as these libraries grow, there is a great need for additional tables, chairs, and bookshelves. We would also like to continue installing computers in our libraries. To create these sustainable libraries, we need to stock each of our libraries with the required local school curriculum texts, provide additional materials requested by the libraries, and continue to work towards sustainability through creative, motivational library training.
This is an ambitious, yet very important goal. In order to reach it, we need your help. We have a short-term fund raising goal of $5,000 by the end of 2007. Please consider helping us a meet this goal with a donation before the end of the year. Even modest amounts can translate to significant benefits for these community libraries.
Your donations at work:
A $25 donation will buy educational games for one library.
A $50 donation will buy world maps and educational posters for one library.
A $100 donation will buy additional tables and chairs for one library.
A $500 donation will buy a new set of encyclopedias for one library.
A $1500 donation will buy an entire set of books matching the local school curriculum for one library.
(For donations of $1500 or more, we will gladly place a plaque in the library of your choice to recognize your gift.)
To make a secure online donation please use the Paypal link at the bottom of this page.
Or, if you prefer, please send a check to:
Biblio Charitable Works, Inc.
5 Ravenscroft Dr. Suite 207
Asheville, NC 28801
There is an enormous need for more libraries in Bolivia. Without your donations, our work would not be possible. With your financial support, the lives of many can be changed for the better.
Latin American Project Coordinator
Biblio Charitable Works, Inc.