First day…

My name is Karen MacMeekin and I am a librarian from Boulder, Colorado in the United States. My husband and I have been traveling throughout South America for 8 months and, about 3 weeks ago, we returned to Bolivia to volunteer for 6 months.

On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, I spent my first day of volunteering at Biblioworks. Biblioworks is a not-for-profit organization that has built and equipped 10 libraries since 2005 in the rural villages around Sucre, Bolivia. It’s a wonderful organization that truly believes “literacy and education are critical components for the creation and vitality of sustainable communities and cultures.” The first part of my volunteering service will be to visit all of the libraries that BW has created – my first: La Biblioteca “Virgen de Guadalupe” in Yamparáez.

Yamparáez is a small village of approximately 1,000 people. It’s about a 30-minute bus ride from Sucre and is at an altitude of 3,100 m (10,170 ft). I went with Matt (aka Mateo to the Bolivians), the South American Program Director, and Maritza, Matt’s assistant and project coordinator.

Mateo y Maritza

The walls are all covered in various book activity posters

The library in Yamparáez is one of the strongest BW libraries and has tremendous support from the municipality, the teachers, and the parents. Because of this, the purpose of our visit was to hold a “Going Beyond” meeting which means that the library is now ready to be on its own. A 5-year Plan of Sustainability is presented and will be signed by the mayor’s office and BW.

Mateo highlighting all of the accomplishments of the library

Maritza presenting the Sustainability Plan

It was a great meeting and an excellent introduction to the libraries that Biblioworks supports. I am so happy to be a part of such an incredible team of staff and volunteers.  Since this meeting, I have visited 2 more libraries and attended a 2-day librarian conference. Will post more soon!



  1. Laure

    Acabo de pasar un mes en Sopachuy como voluntariada en la biblioteca del pueblo. Mi mision consistia no solamente en ayudar los niños de primaria y segundaria en sus tareas sino tambien hacer la lectura de cuentos los mas pequeños. Tambien propuso hacer un taller de ingles, tambien de artesania para que lo niños vinieran a la bilioteca no solamente para sus tareas escolares. Les incanto y han venido numerosos con mucho anthusiasmo.
    Esta experiencia al lado del bibliotecario Adhemar sera inolvidable para mi! Gracias a todo el equipo de Biblioworks

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