Category: News

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!




Guatemala Bound!

LWB Volunteers travel to Guatemala April 20 – May 1

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

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:

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

Library Leader Stephen Abram Joins LWB Board of Directors


TORONTO, March 4, 2014 — Librarians Without Borders is proud to announce that Stephen Abram has been appointed to its Board of Directors.

Stephen Abram, MLS, brings a wealth of experience to the organization and is currently the CEO of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries.


“I am excited to be joining the Librarians Without Borders board. I have watched this organization grow and develop and admire the commitment and energy that the they bring to making a difference in the world through applying the principles of librarianship through direct action,” Abram said.

Abram is also a strategy and direction planning consultant for libraries and the information industry, a principal of Lighthouse Partners, and an associate of Dysart & Jones. He is a library trend watcher, keynote speaker, innovator and author of Stephen’s Lighthouse blog. He has held executive leadership positions at Cengage Learning (Gale), SirsiDynix, Thomson, ProQuest and IHS. He is a past president of CLA, OLA, and SLA.

About Librarians Without Borders

Librarians Without Borders (LWB) is an action-oriented non-profit organization that strives to narrow information access inequities worldwide by supporting libraries in developing regions and domestic communities.

We enact our mission by collaborating with partner communities to identify their needs and then mobilize our volunteers – the core being student librarians in a service-learning model – for in-the-field development.

We believe that access to information is vital in supporting learning and literacy, reducing poverty, empowering citizens, and building healthy, strong communities.

For more information

Carla Wintersgill
LWB Communications Specialist

2014 Guatemala Service Trip

guatemala trip banner

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 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.

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:

Literacy Work on the Thai-Burma Border

by Kaitie Warren, Co-Chair University of British Columbia LWB Committee

Librarians Without Borders has recently opened a brand new local committee, based out of the iSchool at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Founding member and current Co-Chair, Kaitie Warren, has recently returned from a service trip to the Thai-Burma border. Read all about her adventures supporting the Curriculum Project of Burma. The Curriculum Project works to design curricula and provide teacher training for schools serving Burmese exiles and refugees on the Thailand border.

Kaitie with an old student Thit Koh, who graduated last March and completed a four-month medic practicum in December.

Kaitie with an old student Thit Koh, who graduated last March and completed a four-month medic practicum in December.

After my first semester-and-a-quarter of Library and Information Science at the University of British Columbia, I began working on a resource guide for teachers on the border of Burma and Thailand. I first visited two years ago with a small Non-Government Organization, Project Umbrella Burma. ‘My students’ are at Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre, where Karen students learn for two years after finishing high school. This past December I got to visit and set up a little project that will support teaching at similar schools.

Students have finished high school in Thailand, mostly in one of the nine refugee camps on Burma’s eastern border, because at home there are either no schools or they can’t afford to go. A lot of them left home long before high-school too; accessing education is one of many reasons that hundreds of thousands of people are forced to leave Burma. It has been this way for a very long time, and despite recent changes in government structure, this reality has not changed.

On the border, there is a fierce commitment to education. Students write and say things like ‘I need education to help my people’, ‘Without education I can’t do anything’, ‘Education is the weapon to fight for the future’. It’s very powerful to hear these thoughts and the stories behind them, and see how difficult it is for students to get the learning they’re looking for.

My project right now is to make it a bit easier for teachers to find materials for class. That’s difficult for many reasons. This is a very rural area, with government checkpoints blocking the road for refugees and migrants. There isn’t much money to buy books with; it’s also difficult to get appropriate books. At the few schools with Internet, people are quite new at using it, and finding extra resources online is not a part of most people’s experience. Even with excellent Internet skills, resources that are relevant to the students and at a good language level are very hard to come by.

Curriculum Project is the NGO I’m working with. They make coursebooks with content for this area, and support adult education on the border in other ways. This resource guide will go with those coursebooks, and add materials that teachers can use to build lessons, audio to play in class, readings and research activities for students. The topics are a range of English levels and a host of social studies like Systems of Democracy, History of Burma from a Multi-Ethnic Perspective, and Environment Issues.

This resource guide is a way to make it easier for teachers and students to find the information that they want. It also presents useful resources side by side with the coursebooks that they’re already using – it will be clear how to put them together for better learning.

Second year students at Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre intrigued by the insides of a computer.

Second year students at Kaw Tha Blay Learning Centre intrigued by the insides of a computer.


Karen students practicing their traditional Done Dance under the misty mountains.

Karen students practicing their traditional Done Dance under the misty mountains.

Class on the badminton court on a chilly morning.


Freshly Minted: LWB’s Newest Committee Forms at the University of British Columbia

Over the past several years Librarians Without Borders has grown in leaps and bounds. We’d like to announce the latest addition to our library family – a new committee at the iSchool at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

The UBC Crew: Matthew Root, Becky Epplett, Kaitie Warren, Kelly Savage, Kelsey Ockert

The UBC Crew: Matthew Root, Becky Epplett, Kaitie Warren, Kelly Savage, Kelsey Ockert

The UBC Committee will be be aided by another new addition. Danielle (Dee) Winn, will join the Librarians Without Borders parent group as Advisor to the UBC team. Dee currently works as a Librarian at the UBC Education Library, and will be on hand to advise and guide the UBC Committee as they grow.

On behalf of LWB, please welcome our newest committee!

LWB Heads to Toronto for the OLA Super Conference: Join Us

Mingle with Librarians Without Borders at the OLA Super Conference next week in Toronto!

Thursday: “Bibliotecarios sin fronteras: Visiting a School Library in Guatemala” 

On Thursday, January 30 between 3:45 – 5:00 pm, join LWB volunteers Suzanne Fernando (Toronto Public Library) and Alexandra Ferguson (MLIS Student, Western University) at the T4L – Together For Learning Showcase for School Librarians. They’ll be sharing sharing photographs and details of their participation in the Librarians Without Borders Volunteer Service Trip to the Asturias school library in Guatemala, April 2013.

Friday: Join Us for Lunch and Conversation at Boston Pizza

You’re invited to lunch with LWB on Friday, January 31st at Boston Pizza on Front Street, just a few minutes walk from the Convention Center. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn more about Librarians Without Borders, meet some of our Executive team, and hear about our programs in Guatemala and Ghana. For more information or to join the event visit our Facebook Event page.
LWB OLA 2014


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.


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.


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


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.

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