<b>TORONTO, Apr. 9, 2013</b> — Elementary school students in Guatemala will be able to borrow books from the library for the first time, thanks in large part to the work of librarians and library students.
Librarians Without Borders members from across North America will be traveling to the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Quetzeltenango (Xela), Guatemala from April 13-28, 2013 to collaborate on the development and operation of a school library.
LWB has partnered with the Asturias Academy since 2009 to support the Academy’s vision to build a sustainable community library in the school. This year’s on-site work marks a major transition for their library: we are implementing cataloging, searching and borrowing technologies (and training the staff on these tools) to enable students to locate and check out books for the very first time.
Many Guatemalans are restricted from getting a quality education, in part due to a severe lack of access to books and literacy materials. In a country where books are taxed beyond the reach of the 75% of the population who live in poverty, it’s almost impossible to get children excited about reading because many cannot get actual books in their hands.
This year, we plan to change that.
Over the course of 2012, with the help of a full-time on-site librarian funded by Librarians Without Borders, students far surpassed the reading goal of 4 books per year, reading on average some 14 books per year. Given this enthusiasm, imagine the impact on (the less than 60%) literacy levels of Asturias’ predominantly indigenous students and their families — once they can check books out of the library and bring them into their homes. This is an unprecedented opportunity in Guatemala.
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