The Sopachuy library officially opened its doors on April 21st, 2008.
Over the years, BiblioWorks has been working with Sopachuy government officials and teachers to create a municipal library dedicated to the entire population of this small town about 7 hours outside of Sucre.
Working with Peace Corps volunteers, we were able to make a substantial donation of books to the local high school in this town back in 2006. But upon the first visit to Sopachuy, it quickly became clear that this community was really ready for a larger library. The size of the town, the amount of students, and the motivation of those involved in the library process proved that a larger municipal library in Sopachuy would definitely be optimized. Expanding the library and moving it to a central location would provide resources not only to high school students, but to elementary school students and adults as well.
Thanks to Peace Corps volunteer Mary Odum, a working contract was signed between BiblioWorks, the Mayor’s office, the School District, and the Church. At that time, the church agreed to provide us with an adequate space for the library. The mayor’s office then invested funds in fixing up the older building and agreed to pay lights and water, as well as the salary for the librarian, Delmira Lopez. They also made a large contribution to the equipping of the library, providing tables, bookshelves, a television, DVD player, printer, and $800 worth of books. The School District also agreed to move a good portion of the books that were given last year to the high school, to the new library.
As for BiblioWorks commitment, we provided the library with 6 large tables and benches, 2 bookshelves, a librarian desk, a computer for the librarian, a variety of educational videos and games, and a $400 purchase of Bolivian literature and textbooks, not including an additional donation of US history and science books. At the same time, we coordinated an event with the Bolivian National Book Bank, who donated over 100 bolivian books to the library and signed a contract with the Municipal Government. The Sopachuy library is now officially part the Bolivian National Library Registry.
On April 21st, BiblioWorks staff and volunteers traveled out to Sopachuy for
the official library opening. As always the event began with the Bolivian national anthem and welcoming words from the Sopachuy mayor and other important officials. Swarms of children gathered around to see the hundreds of books set out on tables in the street and to laugh along with the funny act that the high school kids had prepared for our benefit.
When the ribbon was officially cut by the mayor and the champagne bottle broken on the doorstep, the same kids piled in to see their new library, replete with furniture, books, and colorful posters and games. Sopachuy now has the library that they have been dreaming about for years!