Library Services Centre Supports Literacy Work in Guatemala

This year, Librarians Without Borders welcomes Library Services Centre (LSC) as our premiere sponsor of the 2014 service trip to Guatemala.LSC_logo_full (1)

Formed in 1967 as a not-for-profit organization, LSC is one of Canada’s largest providers of bibliographic material to libraries. Libraries may acquire the material “as is” or processed. Nationally, LSC would rank in the top 5 book wholesalers to libraries, and would number 1 or 2 as a supplier to public libraries. In total, LSC serves more than 200 institutions.

For more information, visit: Library Services Centre online.

Thank you LSC for your commitment to libraries and literacy!

 

 

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Guatemala Bound!

LWB Volunteers travel to Guatemala April 20 – May 1

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Photo from garryknight on flickr.

Our LWB volunteers will be blogging regularly throughout the service trip (April 20th to May 1st) so check in daily to see the latest news!

12 dedicated Librarians Without Borders volunteers will be travelling to Guatemala this April, where they will work with our Guatemalan partners the Asturias Academy and Limitless Horizons Ixil to promote and support strong community libraries, education and lifelong learning. Our volunteers include LIS students and professionals from North America and Europe, who bring a range of skills and expertise in the areas of school and community libraries, international development and community capacity building.

LWB has partnered with the Asturias Academy since 2009 to support the Academy’s vision to build a sustainable school library. The Asturias Academy Library aims to support the school curriculum and learning objectives for the school’s population of K-12 students and teachers. This year’s on-site work will focus on developing programming initiatives, organizing a ‘Library Day’ celebration for students, assisting with library organization and cataloguing and supporting the newly developed lending system.

As in years past, LWB and the Asturias Academy library staff will take time to discuss the current trends in libraries, how to engage students and promote literacy within the community.

In the second half of the trip, LWB volunteers will travel to San Gaspar Chajul, a remote town located in the mountainous region of Ixil Community, Quiché. The group will visit the Saber Sin Límites Community Library, established by Limitless Horizons Ixil in 2010. The library is the only resource of its kind in the community and serves a population of over 1,400 users of all ages. It is particularly known for its helpful and engaged local librarians, who offer homework help, cultivate students’ literacy and research skills, and create a fun and open learning space for all. While in Chajul, LWB volunteers will take time to learn about the community and its local history, meet with library staff to share ideas related to literacy development and facilitate story time activities for children in the community.

Guatemala Trip Information Meeting: Sunday March 9

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Join Librarians Without Borders this Sunday, March 9 from 6 – 7 pm EST for an online informational meeting about our upcoming service trip to Guatemala. This is an open meeting — all are welcome!

A recording of the meeting will be posted afterward for those who cannot attend. For more information contact: carolyn.doi@lwb-online.org

Trip Description: Participants will travel to Guatemala, visiting school and community libraries in Quetzaltenango and Chajul. Volunteers will complete seven days of work with two partner organizations: the Asturias Academy and Limitless Horizons Ixil. Other trip activities include sightseeing, cultural visits and workshops designed to give participants a comprehensive understanding of libraries, education and culture in Guatemala. This highly immersive experience allows volunteers to provide much needed on-the ground support. Learn more at http://lwb-online.org/?p=5451

2014 Guatemala Service Trip

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Application deadline extended to March 16!

Trip Description
Trip Participants will travel to Guatemala, visiting school and community libraries in Quetzaltenango and Chajul. Volunteers will complete seven days of work with two partner organizations: the Asturias Academy and Limitless Horizons Ixil. Other trip activities include sightseeing, cultural visits and workshops designed to give participants a comprehensive understanding of libraries, education and culture in Guatemala. This highly immersive experience allows volunteers to provide much needed on-the ground support.

How to apply: submit completed application form to carolyn.doi@lwb-online.org by March 13, 2014. March 16. Successful applicants will by notified by the week of March 17.

About our Partner Organizations
The Miguel Angel Asturias Academy is a K-12 non-profit private school in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The Academy was founded in 1994 with a goal to eliminate education disparities through subsidized tuition. The Academy’s curriculum is based on the popular education theory of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, in which systems of injustice are confronted and transformed on the basis of all as teachers and learners.

The Asturias Academy has been working with Librarians Without Borders since 2010, to envision and develop a library within the school. Today, the library is open to students and staff and has just begun lending books for use outside school hours. During the 2014 trip, volunteers will work with library staff to assist with library-related work activities including cataloguing, programming and library maintenance. LWB volunteers will also plan and deliver a series of activities and programs for the Academy students and staff during the annual “Library Day” celebration.

The Saber Sin Límites Chajul Community Library is the first and only community library in the town of Chajul, located in the rural mountainous region of Quiche, Guatemala. With a membership of 1,400 users—ranging in age from four to forty—and counting, 3,783 titles, two librarians, and many helping hands, the library is making reading fun and popular in Chajul. During the service trip, LWB volunteers will have the opportunity to learn about issues related to education and literacy and provide assistance with the children’s library fair.

Housing and Food
Lodging and meals are included in the trip fees. While in Xela, participants will stay at the COFA Catholic Retreat Centre. In Chajul, participants will stay at accommodations provided by Limitless Horizons. Meals will be provided by a local family, or at local restaurants or eateries. Vegetarian options will be available.

Duration April 20 – May 1, 2014

Trip Fees

Program fee* : $800 CAD
Fundraising** : $200 CAD
Total : $1000 CAD

*Program fee includes: lodging, most meals, entrance to all activities and transportation within Guatemala. Volunteers are responsible for cost of flights to and from Guatemala. You are expected to bring extra spending money for additional purchases such as souvenirs and snacks and occasional meals while in Guatemala.
**Fundraising fee will go towards funding projects at the Asturias Academy and Chajul Community Library. This portion is a non-refundable deposit.

Expectations
All trip volunteers are expected to attend 3 briefing meetings (held online) to discuss projects and receive training on trip projects, prior to departure.

Questions? Contact: carolyn.doi@lwb-online.org

Miguel Angel Asturias Academy Celebrates its Anniversary

Jorge class

By Shanoor Gulamali, Librarian, Asturias Academy

Anniversary Activities

Various activities took place during the week of the Academy’s anniversary; the library was involved in organizing a Spelling Bee or “Un Concurso Deletreo” as well as a Story Writing Contest or “Concurso de Cuento”. During the Spelling Bee contest the orally spelled words were displayed on a large screen for the public to view. Finalists were chosen from the pre-primary, the primary and the secondary levels. The library also presented gifts to students with the most books read.

Cataloguing Update

Around 98% of the Beginner and Intermediate level books have been catalogued correctly and displayed with Dewey System labeling while one third of the Advanced level books have been catalogued.

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Reading Comprehension Activities at the library

The newly designed reading comprehension activity cards have been implemented. These cards are intended for students to think outside of the “book” and include personal observations and experiences while responding to questions specified for fiction and non-fiction titles.

The library proudly displays Spanish grammar rules for students’ reference when completing their reading comprehension activities during their library period.

Identifying Books on Generative Themes

A display chart including generative themes studied throughout the year has been designed to accommodate student and teacher suggestions of books that relate to these themes. This ongoing process of adding book titles with authors and the various related themes and subthemes allows for identification of books to accommodate the school’s curriculum.

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Student Reading Progress

Student reading progress charts by grade level are regularly updated as students complete reading a book. Teachers and staff are also assigned a filling card to motivate reading within the entire school. Incentives are awarded to those students who read the most books

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What Gives You Hope?

81hAD4GfHUL._AA1500_By Gary Doi, Editor of INSPIRING HOPE: One Story at a Time

A question that comes in many forms, wherever you might be in life. Almost like saying “tell me something good” or “what is promising?” Hope is optimism combined with action. To be hopeful is to be positive about the future and dedicated to making it happen.

 

Successful people thrive on it and forward thinking groups and organizations are guided by it. Yet in today’s world, hope is a resource in short supply.

That’s why we’ve been encouraging people to talk about hope, to share stories of hope: a personal anecdote reflecting life’s highs and lows, an important work-related or life lesson or an inspirational narrative of a difference-maker. Over the past two years, we’ve published 550 stories online by writers all over the world.

Seventy-five of these real-life stories are now available in a brand new book titled: Inspiring Hope—One Story at a Time. The stories are as varied and compelling as life itself. They stir the imagination, ignite your courage and invite reflection. They inspire hope.

All net proceeds from book sales are being donated to Librarians Without Borders’ efforts to support the Asturias Academy Library in Xela, Guatemala.

Why LWB? LWB reflects the power of collective capacity. It calls on the goodwill and talents of librarians everywhere. It seeks to support and empower others in need by promoting literacy. LWB is hope.

Please support our efforts by sharing this information and purchasing the book at AMAZON.COM or AMAZON.CA.

Give an Inspiring Holiday Gift: Support Our Guatemalan School Library

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Dear Members and Friends,

It’s the time of year when you may be looking for thoughtful gifts for those dear to you.  Consider giving the gift of literacy this holiday season by supporting Librarians Without Borders’ work with the Asturias Academy library in Guatemala. How? There are two quick and easy ways.

Foremost, we’re excited to announce that all proceeds of the newly published book “Inspiring Hope: One Story at a Time” will go to our Guatemala program. This anthology of 75 startlingly honest stories focuses on the eternal question: What gives you hope? Included is a chapter written by our very own Librarians Without Borders volunteer Samhita Gupta on her experience volunteering at Asturias.

Purchase the book on Amazon for all the bibliophiles in your life.

American and International orders: Amazon.com – Inspiring Hope

Canadian orders: Amazon.ca – Inspiring Hope

Second, you can give directly to the Librarians Without Borders’ Guatemala program using PayPal.  We’ll recognize your donation by sending a personalized letter of thanks to your book club, workplace, student group — whomever!

To see the library that your donations will support, look at these photo albums, which document the growth of our Guatemala library program. Thanks to support from our members and volunteers, we’ve been able to build a library at the heart of a school in need.

Donations will help us continue our work to build libraries and a culture of literacy on the ground in Guatemala.

Thank you for your generosity!

Best regards,

Melanie Sellar & Mark Gelsomino

Co-Executive Directors

Librarians Without Borders

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Reading, literacy and beyond: library use takes off at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy Library

The library at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy is buzzing away with a variety of events. The brand new tables (acquired from funds contributed by the LWB volunteers who visited the library in April 2013) , are being used for multiple activities.

Student chess tournament

Student chess tournament


Students of all grades enjoy the board games lent out during recess, and the library even houses various chess competitions. We have had ”skype” sessions with our sister school in Pennsylvania, and of course students pop in for pleasure reading. Throughout the week every grade level comes to the library for reading and literacy activities.

Lending Library Development
The size of the library’s collection is increasing, and the development of a lending system is well underway. Presently each item on the shelf is being verified with a Master Inventory List, prepared by LWB volunteers, and is being assigned a barcode and scanned onto the inventory list. Once the master list has been completed with each item in the library catalogue, the information will be transferred onto the new Library Integrated System Software, BookCat. This all means we will be one step closer to letting Asturias Academy students take books home using a computerized lending system.

Bookcat lending system

Bookcat lending system

Literacy Development
Reading comprehension classes have been ongoing in the library. We are in the process of creating new reading cards or “fichas de lectura” with various questions related to fiction and non-fiction books.
Each month the library displays books related to the “Generative theme” or “Tema generador” for students to read and discuss in class. In this respect the library is integral to the school curriculum.

A display of library materials featuring the monthly generative theme

A display of library materials featuring the monthly generative theme


Librarian Dorita helps students with their homework

Librarian Dorita helps students with their homework


It has been a pleasure to work with LWB at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy Library. We are thankful for your ongoing professional support.

The library team: Dora Araceli, Laura Chojolán and Shanoor Gulamali (July 2013)

Dora Domínguez is a retired teacher, she worked at Miguel Angel Asturias Academy as a grade 3 teacher since 2006 and has been the librarian since 2012. Presently she teachers literacy to all the primary level students who come to the library. Her grandson attends the Asturias Academy.

Laura Chojolan has been teaching Physics and Chemistry at the school since 2010. She started to work at the library in 2013 teaching literacy to grades 7 to 12. She also taught adult literacy in the community and initiated the first reading club at the school in 2006. She is a medical student at “la universidad Mesoamericana”.

Shanoor Gulamali is a recent graduate from the ischool at the University of Toronto and began working at the Asturias Academy in May 2013. She teaches English to grades 11 and 12 and is presently cataloguing the Asturias library books and helping to develop the lending system. She is teaching some literacy classes while Laura is presently doing her practicum. Shanoor is the recipient of the 2013 – 2014 LWB Librarian stipend.

Libraries as tools for change: My experience with Librarians Without Borders in Guatemala

Carolyne Ménard explaining activities for Library Day to a group of students at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Guatemala.  / Photo courtesy of Carolyne Ménard.

Carolyne Ménard explaining activities for Library Day to a group of students at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Guatemala. / Photo courtesy of Carolyne Ménard.

 

Congratulations to Carolyne Menard, the Co-Chair of McGill University’s Librarian’s Without Borders Committee! The McGill Reporter has just published Carolyne’s in depth reflections of her recent service trip to Guatemala. Read an excerpt below then follow the link for the full article.

By Carolyne Ménard

This past April, I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala with Librarians Without Borders (LWB), a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of equal access to information resources. Librarians Without Borders has student chapters in many Canadian universities – such as McGill – and its volunteers are either librarianship students or professional librarians. LWB sees libraries as tools for powering development and reducing inequalities in the world by providing information access to everyone, regardless of where they live or what their socioeconomic background is.

Since 2009, LWB has maintained a partnership with the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy, a primary and high school in Quetzaltenango, the second largest city in Guatemala. Founded in 1994, the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy’s goal is to break the poverty cycle in Guatemala by providing an alternative education to its students, based on the pedagogy of Brazilian activist Paulo Freire, author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

At the school, students learn and analyze the situation in which they live, they criticize it and they take actions to change it. The school also aims to provide education to social groups often marginalized by the Guatemalan education system: the poor, the women and the indigenous communities. The ultimate goal of the school’s director and founder, Jorge Chojolán, is that the Asturias Academy could implement a social change in Guatemala through the involvement of its students in their community and their will to make their country a more equal place.

Since the Asturias’ curriculum is not identical to the official program of the minister of education, it cannot receive any subventions from the Guatemalan government. To solve this problem, it relies mostly on partnerships with international non-profit organizations, such as LWB. Since the start of its partnership, LWB has been sending participants each year to work in the school’s library. The school’s library offers a nice reading space for students and is very well maintained by the librarians, who are also volunteers. The library was actually built by LWB in 2009, starting with a modest collection of 30 books. Four years later, it now has more than 3,000 books, thanks to donations from individuals, organisations and LWB’s annual trips.

Read the rest of Carolyne’s insights as originally published in the McGill Reporter: Libraries as Tools For Change

 

My Reflections on the Guatemala Service Trip

By Alexandra Ferguson

IMG_4821-2The 2013 Guatemala Service Trip has come and gone, and as I sit and recall this unique experience, I realize that I’ve left with not just fond memories of the students, the school and the community, but also valuable skills that I can use in the future.

We were told many times that though we were there to provide a service to the school library and students, we should also take this opportunity to gain experience learning practical skills that we could take away with us. Having stayed for the two-week service trip, I was given the opportunity to try my hand at various projects.

The main project I was responsible for working on was the planning and implementation of Library Day activities. Our team worked pre-trip to plan fun and educational activities to get the students interested in the library and learn how the library is organized. We had to become familiar with the library’s collection as well as the reading level of the students in order to create activities that would benefit the students. Some activities were easier for the students to partake in, while others had to be modified on the spot depending upon their interests, skill level, and understanding. Thanks to the dedicated Spanish-speaking volunteers we had lead these activities, we were able to make last-minute adjustments to improve the students’ experience. While our Library Day planning team has all had experience with either library programming or children’s activities planning in one capacity or other it taught us, in very practical terms, that successful library programming must take into account the community’s unique environment.

After Library Day, I was free to help Lending Library Project Team with processing and cataloguing newly donated books. Having only taken one introductory class at school on cataloguing, I was eager to use my knowledge and theory learned in a real-life setting. I thoroughly enjoyed processing the new books with the knowledge that I was helping the students quickly identify books that may be of interest to them. I also learned that cataloguing books is not always such a simple task, and that tough calls need to be made sometimes when considering where to place a book. For example, while one Dewey number may be useful for describing where a book should be placed in one library, it may not be useful for another library. We had to keep in mind the unique needs of this library and where certain books should be placed so that they may be more easily accessible for these students. Consideration of the students’ reading level was also very important. A book that may be suitable for one age group by our North American standards may be more suitable for another age group in this community.

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Lastly, I was also given the opportunity to witness several, and finally take part in one, lending instruction sessions. The students got very excited during these sessions talking about how they usually use the library, and were even more excited to learn about the lending process with hopes that sometime in the near future, they may be able to take home library books and share them with their families. I took over the role Ian played in demonstrating how to take out a library book while Sarah explained the process. It’s easy to take libraries for granted in Canada and our ability to not only access great books but to take them home with us to enjoy. Seeing the looks on these students’ faces when they learned that they may be able to take home books in their library showed me that the act of borrowing books from a library is a beautiful privilege we should all protect and promote in our own communities.

With any volunteer experience, you expect to offer your skills and services to others. What you may not always expect from these experiences is to receive so much more in return. I am humbled by the love and gratitude of the students, staff, and community members, and I am empowered as a librarian by my involvement in various literacy projects. The reciprocal benefits I received, and more importantly those at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy also received, on the 2013 Guatemala Service Trip will not soon be forgotten.

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