Collection Team Update: 200 (and counting) books for Asturias

After a wonderful welcome from the children and staff, the collection team got to work on unpacking the 200 books that the LWB team brought with us in our luggage. We had a chance to poke through the library and get familiar with Asturias Academy’s collection. The library is located on the top floor of the school, giving it a quiet refuge. Visitors take off their shoes to help make sure the carpet stays clean. Even with the limitations of the collection it’s clear that the space is well-maintained and well-loved. 

We purchased titles from Piedra Santa Publishing in Guatemala City with donations from Librarians Without Borders, community groups, and individual contributions earlier in the week. Those books would arrive later. In the meantime, we had plenty to do organizing the books that we brought with us. There were books that any school librarian would recognize: Ciudades de Papel (Cities of Paper), Harold y el Lápiz Color Morado (Harold and the Purple Crayon), and El Capitán Calzonzillos (Captain Underpants). Asturias Academy Librarian Señora Dorita reviewed the donations and commented “que lindos todos estos libros, ahora tendré que dormir en la biblioteca para tener tiempo de leerlos todos.” Some of the titles, like Diary of a Wimpy Kid (or Diario de Greg) and The Giving Tree seem to be as popular with young readers here as they are back home. 

We spent most of the day working out our process. It took some time to understand the system Sra. Dorita set up for her students. It’s important to make sure that each book is housed in the appropriate section in order to best serve the students and help maintain an organized library. We did some careful organizing and reviewing to make sure we were on the right track. We got a start on the cataloging and processing of the donated titles. It should be a productive week.

Purchasing books for Asturias at Piedra Santa

On our first day we visited publishing company Piedra Santa in Guatemala City. At first glance it appeared to be a small storefront, but as we began our tour it became clear there’s much more than meets the eye. It contains a storefront, a printing area, an administrative department, and a warehouse. In each space and person we met on the tour there was an evident devotion to promoting Guatemalan culture and literature, as is reflected in their motto, “Educando generaciones siempre.”

The collection development team’s primary goal was to choose non-fiction books for Miguel Angel Asturias Academy’s growing library. The tour guide had helpfully pre-selected newer titles for the entire group to browse. The collection development team sifted through the shelves to find the most appropriate books to purchase and add to the academy’s collection. The benefits of Piedra Santa’s approach to publication were evident as we made our selections. As school librarian Joy observed, “these books offer a specific look at each of the regions of Guatemala.” 

We were able to make a diverse selection of books from encyclopedias about space to biography about Shakespeare. Our goal in providing an array of topics is to spark student interest and nudge them down the path of lifelong learning. 

There was one challenge some of the team encountered while choosing books: the language barrier. But you can’t stop a group of librarians from hauling away books. We were able to assess the books’ appropriateness based on the quality of the binding, the clarity of non-text features, and shelf appeal (of course). With support from other members of the team we were able to choose new, exciting materials. 
It was exciting to be able to tour Piedra Santa and get a different perspective on the relationship between publishing and libraries. However, this was just the first step in the process of getting books in the hands of students. More to come in the days ahead.

Our 2017 Guatemala Service Trip Team

Anne Rojas
Liaison Librarians to the College of Education at Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I don’t remember how I heard about LWB!   I’m subscribed to a lot of professional listservs so I probably heard through email.   I originally found out about the Guatemala service trip in 2016 but couldn’t go because of a schedule conflict, so I’ve been working on it for over a year!

– librarianship philosophy:  My philosophy as a librarian  … I consider myself first and foremost to be an educator.  I feel very strongly about the power of literature and the free-flow of information.  Now, living in the Information Age, I find myself focusing on the importance of critical thinking about information in general, and smart information seeking behavior in particular.


John Archer.
Retired from my daily work as a school librarian about 10 years ago, having  pursued the joys of working in elementary, middle and high school public and private schools.  

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I’ve been following LWB for a few years, intrigued by the thought of again working overseas in a school library.  

– librarianship philosophy: School libraries are wonderful centres of community, both within  schools as well as within greater public communities and I appreciate the LWB opportunity to contribute to this campaign of information and reading literacy.


Marika Hunter
Student at McGill in the Master of Information Studies program.

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I heard about the LWB Guatemala trip through the McGill Student Chapter of LWB, of which I am a member.

– librarianship philosophy: My librarianship philosophy is something along the lines of I think access to information and literacy are the cornerstone of basically all human development and progress. I think libraries have a responsibility to be political by always promoting equality, diversity, non-discrimination and social mobility/justice/welfare.


Sofia De La Mora
MLIS Candidate -University of Arizona

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I heard about the trip through the University. It was an email about the volunteer opportunity, I was so excited the moment I read what it was about and decided to apply. I couldn’t have been happier the moment I received my acceptance letter!

– librarianship philosophy: libraries is that one thing humanity got right. The are the heart and nucleus of a society.  They have been an indispensable source for knowledge and community involvement and will not stop that at anytime soon. I became a librarian because I believe that education is the way to make a better world for current and future generations. I am committed to serving the community by providing intellectual and resources. My duty is to help spread information literacy throughout the world and to help those who have less thrive in a world of social and economical inequities.


Debbie Chavez
Guatemala Program Lead

I’ve been interested in serving in Guatemala since the 90’s, when I become aware of the country’s civil war after reading I, Rigoberta Menchú. I’ve worked for many years as a public librarian and am now making the transition to school libraries. This volunteer work is very fulfilling because many of my talents and skills blend into one powerful experience where I’m encouraging a love of reading in children and teens and working with the teachers who nurture these children every day. And it’s all done in the breathtaking setting of Guatemala, with its beautiful people, colorful buses, homemade corn tortillas, and juicy ripe mangoes.


Dana Young
Instruction / Technology Librarian, Gavilan College Library

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I had heard of the work LWB was doing. I have been following the organization for a while but never thought I’d be accepted as a volunteer.

– librarianship philosophy: I consider myself an evangel for the power of libraries to change lives. I am a second generation librarian. I believe access to information can help users achieve their goals.


Lisa Elchuk
Upper School (Gr. 9-12) Librarian, MSUS Library, Crescent School, Toronto, Canada

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I have followed the Librarians Without Borders Facebook group for a while and noticed the announcement inviting applications for this year’s trip to Guatemala. At the same time, I attended a session at the Ontario Library Association’s Super Conference, this past February, where Joy and Jorge spoke about the LWB trip to Guatemala. I usually lead an International Outreach program to a school in South Africa, where we frame our trip around a literacy and arts program for Grade 2 learners. Our School recently put a moratorium on international travel, so we were not able to go. When I looked at the Guatemala trip and what it entailed, I was thrilled to see that it was very similar to the learning service opportunities we provide our students, in our International Outreach programming. The timing of the invitation to apply seemed serendipitous, so I did, was accepted and here I am!

– librarianship philosophy: I am a fierce proponent of access to information and the student right to read anything. I believe that encouraging students to make their own choices in what they want to read, fosters a continued relationship with reading, moving well into adulthood. I also believe in the student’s right to question and engage with information, and my goal in our Library space is to provide my students with a safe and welcoming environment to do these things. My interest in reading as a social and emotional tool has been growing over the years I have worked at Crescent School and I always look forward to enhancing what our current offerings are in our Library – from playdoh to LEGO to yoga to finger knitting and colouring – in addition to our growing Wellness print and online collection, specifically geared toward young adult issues, concerns and interests.


Camlin Vinayagamoorthy
Senior Library Assistant at Toronto Public Library Flemingdon Park Branch

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: 7 years ago while I was doing research on global librarianship opportunities, I came across the LWB website and ended up joining as a member. I’ve been wanted to go on the Guatemala service trip since then and I finally mustered up the courage to apply this year!

– librarianship philosophy: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life”, but what good is knowing how to fish without a rod? I believe librarianship is not merely limited to providing access to intellectual freedom but to also empower and educate communities with what to do with those resources. A large part of public librarianship is social responsibility and actively outreaching and forming local partnerships to bridge access to those resources. In doing so, we can develop a better understanding of the community’s needs and how we can provide the necessary services and resources to help foster a generation of independent, empowered and engaged users.


Melissa Mejia
Library Associate for Kern County Library (California, USA)/ San Jose State University MLIS student

How you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I first heard about LWB when I officially decided to pursue my MLIS and I did a quick online search for international librarianship opportunities. When I saw the website for LWB I knew then that one day I would apply and contribute to the cause for supporting literacy and breaking down barriers to information.

– librarianship philosophy: I grew up in a very small rural town in California where the public library served as my window to the rest of the world. I learned then what I advocate for now, that libraries offer valuable access which ultimately leads to opportunity. My philosophy on librarianship rests on the principle of promoting and protecting this access across the world. When libraries are well funded and well supported they can evolve into vibrant community spaces that empowers its users to take part in building connections between their needs and the resources available to meet those needs. In this way, we build strong communities


Sarivette Ortiz
Librarian, Ana G Mendez University System

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I saw the LWB link on Facebook, there I read about the project and the opportunity to volunteer. I was impressed about the way other librarians told their experiences in Guatemala.

– librarianship philosophy: I believe in freedom of information, everyone should have the right to access information and to receive education to develop critical thinking


Joy Kim
Library Media Specialist & Metadata Intern, Mills High School & Stanford University

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I heard about LWB through SJSU email announcements(current student online). I have traveled to 22+ countries and have also studied and taught abroad. My favorite country is probably Japan because people are so considerate and kind there.

– librarianship philosophy: My librarianship philosophy is still growing, but as a former educator I lean towards constructivist frameworks that focus on creating learning environments based on the learners’ experience and background.


Wendy Paulas
Reference Librarian, Denver Public Library

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I heard about the Guatemala service trip via the Librarians Without Borders Facebook page.

– librarianship philosophy: My library philosophy is to create life-long library customers by implementing library services designed for customers of all ages seeking popular materials and friendly service.


Rachel Riter
Graduate Intern at ASU Hayden Library/ San Jose State University MLIS student

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I first heard about LWB when I was researching international librarianship opportunities. I signed up for the newsletters and when they sent out a call asking for volunteers I applied right away!

– librarianship philosophy: I believe libraries should be a place where curiosity can be explored, discover partners in exploration ,and where information literacy and social justice is one cohesive pedagogy.


Jorge Rivera
Branch Head, Toronto Public Library

– how you heard about the Guatemala Service Trip: I participated as a volunteer in 2014.  I led programming for young and middle-aged children.  It was a  rewarding experience for me.  It gave me a chance to practice my skills in a new service environment and help those in need at the same time.  I’m back again this year to practice what I’ve learned and to support a good cause.

– librarianship philosophy:I love the profession.  I believe that libraries build stronger communities.  We collect resources that respond to needs and trends and develop policies to ensure they are shared responsibly.  Libraries support self-learning and capacity building.  We develop environments that allow people to be in-charge of their own personal growth.  I believe the world is a better place when we all have the opportunity to explore our intellectual curiosities.


Lindsay Hall
Library media specialist at D.C. Public Schools.

– librarianship philosophy: I look forward to engaging in the exchange of information as a member of Librarians without Borders’ 2017 volunteer group. I believe libraries have the potential to enrich communities and to empower patrons. It will be exciting to see the ways students and teachers interact with their library. Life is better with books and adventure, and this trip promises both.

Why I’m Going to Guatemala

by Jorge Rivera

I’m honoured to be co-leading the LWB service trip in Guatemala this year.  Both my parents are from Guatemala and so are our ancestors.  My parents, although meeting in Canada, both came with the intentions of raising a family.  They taught me the importance of hard work, making good use of my time and not forgetting about our family back home.   I feel it in my pulse to give back and share all the skills that I’m so fortunate to have.  I’m enthralled by this unique opportunity to connect my love of reading and thirst for learning with something that runs so deeply in my heart.  I hope you all consider applying to be part of this unforgettable experience.


 “A chance to share your skills to support a long-term transformative cause.”

What inspired me to lead the LWB project in Guatemala this year?

Many reasons!  It was difficult trimming it down, but below are my top 3 reasons.

Sharing our Skills.

The LWB project in Asturias is a real opportunity to share our skills professionally.  Many of us work or go to school in resource rich environments and with organizations that have a long standing emphasis on learning, professional development and innovation.   Our professional working environments have fuelled growth in our abilities and skills.  Supporting library and teaching staff at MA Asturias Academy, is a chance to build capacity and share ideas and skills with library and teaching staff who operate in environments that are not as fortunate as our own.

I Love Libraries.

I believe libraries have mastered the art of sharing.  We pool and organize resources and make them accessible to the communities we serve.  Then we develop sound policies and systems to ensure these resources are distributed fairly and equitably.  This brings communities together and supports learning and literacy.

The Experience.

Volunteering for LWB is a learning experience.  It’s about immersing yourself in a new culture, learning about library building activities that support critical education, absorbing the beauty of the Guatemalan culture, and learning from peers.  There’s something very special about working with a committed group of librarians that believe in social justice and understand the long-term benefits of building good libraries.  This trip will not only change the community we serve, it will also change you.

To apply: Submit a completed volunteer application to by February 13.

Interview: David, Saber Sin Límites Community Library

By Erica Younglove

Two librarians from Limitless Horizons Ixil in Chajul, Guatemala visited Asturius this week. David and his coworker Marina came to the Teacher Training at Asturias on Monday and helped us prep for Library Day on Tuesday. David took the time to talk to me about his library and position. Here’s what he said:

Q: David, tell me about the library.
A: It works almost the same as here at Asturias but with different activities with the kids. The library originally was part of the school and just for older students. It is now a public library. It serves the whole community – children, teachers, teens, adults.

Q: How long has the library been open?
A: It has been operating as a public library for six years.

Q: How does the library support itself?
A: The community is very poor and doesn’t have a lot of resources. We rely on donations and foreign aid. For example, we provide craft supplies for kids who can’t afford them. Most of those supplies are donated.

Q: What programs does the library provide?
A: Librarians help students with homework, provide one on one tutoring, hold storytimes every Wednesday, and host a reading club. A lot of children speak the indigenous language Ixil not Spanish. So we are helping them learn Spanish and Spanish reading skills. We are helping them form the habit of reading.

Q: How many books do you have?
A: We have 4500 titles but with copies we have 8000 books that circulate.

Q: How many people do you serve?
A: 18,000.

Q: How many people use the library?
A: We have 80-100 kids come into the library everyday. Children like to do their homework at the library because most of them have dirt floors at home. They want to keep their work nice so they do it at the library.

Q: What are your hours?
A: We work 8-5 Monday through Friday. The library is open from 8-11am and 2-4:30pm each day.

Q: Do you have computers?
A: We have two computers but they don’t have Internet. They are only for looking up books in the library.

Q: How does lending work?
A: We mainly lend to students we work with regularly. Patrons that don’t come in frequently we don’t lend to.

Q: Do you have library cards?
A: Yes we do.

Q: Do you have materials in the local language?
A: Yes.

Q: What does your job entail?
A: We help kids, plan activities, and organize materials.

Q: How big is your staff?
A: We just have the two librarians and two volunteers.



Marina, LWB team member Cat Silvers, David.

Q: How long have you been in your position?
A: This is my third year.

Q: What qualified you for the job?
A: I have a teaching certificate and previously worked as a teacher.

Q: What training do you do?
A: This training and others from LWB and the group Child-Aid. And I go to school. Currently I’m studying agriculture at the university. Once I get my degree I hope to help the community improve their farming practice and take advantage of our fertile soil. Right now they only grow corn and beans. I plan to encourage them to plant other things to help improve their diet.

Q: When will you get your degree?
A: I have two or three more years. It is a five year program.

Q: What do you like best about your job?
A: I have a passion for helping kids especially when doing so improves the community. If you start with the young ones they are the ones that will grow up and make the change in the community. I am very thankful for my job. I appreciate LWB coming to help me improve our library and community.

This interview was conducted with the translation assistance of Georgi Bordner.

Field Notes: Visiting Piedra Santa

by Erica Younglove

Saturday – our first full day in Guatemala – we got to visit and tour Piedra Santa, a publishing house and bookstore, in their new facility. Piedra Santa has been in their new building for about eight months. They employ 100 employees, 35 who work in their offices. They are able to publish a book from start to finish, with a facility that includes machines that cut paper, bind and glue books, and print in multiple colors of ink, and a bookstore.


Piedra Santa’s new space also includes office space, garage, and a two-floor warehouse.  They sell and publish local Guatemalan authors, and are working  on getting the rights to translate foreign materials into Spanish. This includes math workbooks requested by local teachers, as well as printing custom orders for local businesses.

Our LWB team also purchased books to take with us to donate to Asturias, and were very happy to support a local Guatemalan publisher.

Meet the 2016 Guatemala Service Trip Team

Debbie Chavez

Debbie Chavez
Program Manager, LWB Asturias
Co-trip leader

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’ve been a librarian for many years in public libraries in the US. I went as a volunteer on the Asturias trip last year and felt that my work wasn’t done, that I needed to continue to work with the school. I’m thrilled to be involved on an ongoing basis as the program manager!

Where else have you travelled?
I’ve travelled extensively in Mexico and a little bit in Canada and Guatemala. I’ve also travelled through many of the states in the western US and a few other cities like Chicago, Boston, and Washington DC.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
Many years ago, I read the book “I, Rigoberta Menchu” and was horrified at the atrocities being committed against the indigenous people of Guatemala. Later, it was proven that much of the information in the book didn’t actually happen to her family. Nonetheless, the atrocities she described did happen to others, and her book brought the world’s attention to the Guatemalan civil war. Ever since then, I knew that I wanted to do something to help the people of Guatemala. I heard about this trip through Facebook and knew that I wanted to be involved. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to combine my love of books and reading with helping people in an area of the world that I’ve been interested in for a very long time.


Dee Winn

Dee Winn
Head, Information Services, Concordia University Library
Co-trip leader,  Collection Development/Cataloguing Team Lead

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’ve been an LWB student advisor for MLIS/MISt programs for the past three years and a librarian for 9 years.

Where else have you travelled?
My most recent travels were to the United Arab Emirates, but I’ve also been to Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I was a volunteer on the 2014 Guatemala Service Trip and am excited to be returning to Asturias to continue LWB’s great work!


Erica Younglove

Erica Younglove
Reference Librarian at Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Charlottesville, VA
Communications Team Lead

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’ve been working in public libraries for over 7 years mostly in adult and reference services.

Where else have you travelled?
I have previously traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada, and to Scotland, Ghana, and Turkey.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I think I was searching for international librarian travel opportunities and found it that way. When I found it I knew I wanted to participate since it combines my passion for libraries and literacy with my love of travel.


Celia Avila

Celia Avila
Young Adult Librarian, Los Angeles Public library, Harbor City-Harbor Gateway Branch
Library Day Team Lead, Communications Team, translations

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I volunteered at my local library as a teen and then went on to work at the library while I completed my studies. I’ve worked for the Los Angeles Public Library for almost 11 years now, 4 as a librarian. I’ve worked mainly in Hispanic communities with an emphasis on providing library services to teens and young adults, a topic I’ve also presented on at conferences in the last few years. Additionally, I am an active member of Reforma, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, and currently serving as the Los Angeles Chapter Vice President/ incoming President.

Where else have you traveled?
I have only been to Zacatecas, Mexico.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about the trip a few years ago from a colleague in Reforma but wasn’t able to apply until now. I had desire to attend for the opportunity to share the skills and knowledge I have acquired through my experiences in libraries. I also wanted the opportunity to learn more about the culture and how libraries operate in other parts of the world in order to better inform my service and my global understanding of libraries in our society.  


Liz Blackall

Liz Blackall
Community Librarian, Hamilton Public Library
Cataloguing team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’m excited to be volunteering for Librarians without Borders for the first time. I have my Masters in Library Science and Bachelor of Education from Western University in London Ontario. I’ve been working at Hamilton Public Library since 2013. My first librarian role was in youth services and I’ve recently moved to a position working with our bookmobiles and visiting library service. It’s a fun and rewarding position serving some of our most vulnerable patrons (and no, they do not let me drive the bookmobile).

Where else have you travelled?
Guatemala will be first big international trip since I was 12 and visited family in Ireland. I enjoy outdoorsy activities, so most of my travelling has involved camping in Ontario.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
My wonderful friend from library school, Alexandra Ferguson, participated in this trip for two years. I was inspired by her stories and photographs and have wanted to come ever since! She encouraged me to apply this year. It’s long been a goal of mine to learn more about international librarianship. Now that I’m done with school and have a job I love, I want to start giving back and become more involved in non-profit organizations and humanitarian projects.


Saudra Alvarez

Saudra Alvarez
Help Saudra fund her trip
OSL III at Pima County Library
Professional Development Team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I have worked for Pima County Library for almost 16 years. I started as a teenager working as a computer monitor. I was a computer monitor for 2 years. I would sign up patrons on computers, and helped them from printing, saving documents, and searching the internet. I created brochures, flyers for the library, and participated In storytime. I then was a page for 3 years. In this position I filed books in alphabetical order, title, author, and also non-fiction as well. Now I’m a clerk I work on serials, damaged items, inter-library loans. I’m also in charge of the Eckstrom-Columbus Library bulletin board. I’m in charge of distributing informational brochures, flyers etc. I work helping patrons from creating new library accounts, checking in/out materials. I also help patrons look up library material on our catalog, and searching our library databases. I assist downloading Ebooks, emagazines, free music on our database (freegal). I assist in computer questions, and faxing. I have also in the past taught Spanish computer classes from beginners computer class, search the internet, create documents in Microsoft word, search the internet, and facebook.

Where else have you travelled?
In the US and Guatemala

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about this wonderful service trip through a colleague. I love helping others, and my parents home Country is Guatemala. This is a great way to give back, and learn more about my culture. I look forward to meeting everybody and participating in this great opportunity while working with teachers and students and promote the importance of literacy, and outreach programs.


Cat Silvers

Cat Silvers
First Year Outreach Librarian, University of North Florida
Library Day team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I found my love for libraries purely by accident. In college I studied Humanities at Florida State University (FSU) and discovered a strong attraction to Art History through required courses for graduation. I decided to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Art History with the intention of someday becoming a museum curator. Early on in my graduate program I decided on an internship at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. I was originally placed in the curatorial department, but was soon moved to the museum’s library to do research for upcoming exhibits. It was in the Ringling’s library that I realized that libraries were my calling. After completing my Master in Art History, I went on to get my MLIS degree. My first part-time librarian position was at FSU where I fell in love with helping students succeed and welcomed the organized chaos of academic libraries. In my current role as the First Year Outreach Librarian at the University of North Florida, I forge partnerships with campus organizations and connect all students in their first year at the university to library resources and services through exciting programs and events.

Where else have you travelled?
I have travelled to Canada, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, and Haiti. In 2006 I also travelled to Italy, where I lived in the small town of San Venanzo for five weeks. The purpose of that trip was to participate in an archaeological dig that focused on uncovering ancient Etruscan artifacts. Just prior to this year’s LWB trip to Guatemala I’ll also be travelling briefly in the Yucatan, Honduras, and Belize.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I discovered Librarians Without Borders while browsing through an American Library Association email newsletter. I have been interested in travelling abroad for non-vacation experiences, and when I saw that I could apply my experience as a librarian to help the people of Guatemala, I knew I needed to fill out an application.


Miria Olson

Miria Olson
Master of Information Studies student at McGill University (Montreal, Canada)
Professional Development team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I work at a public library in Montreal and I am a member of the McGill University LWB chapter.

Where else have you travelled?
I spent five years working as an English teacher in Spain and the Canary Islands. I travelled to many European countries during that time. I have also worked and studied in New Zealand, Iceland and France. During high school, I did a short exchange program in Costa Rica and I’m very excited to return to Central America with LWB this year!

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about the program from previous participants and they encouraged me to apply. I applied for this program because I love the Spanish language and I am very interested in children’s literacy. I think this trip will be a great learning opportunity.


Mary Block

Mary Block
Library Assistant, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) / San Jose State University MLIS student
Collection Development team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
My career in libraries started with a student worker position as an undergrad.  I found that I loved helping connect people with information and giving them the tools to succeed in school and beyond.  I’ve since worked in public libraries as a children’s and teen librarian; in a genealogy and historical collections library; and now I work in an academic library at an art and design school.  I believe in the life-changing powers of libraries, and I’m so happy to contribute to LWB’s mission of improving access to information resources.

Where else have you travelled?
I’ve been to Montreal, Canada, and I’ve traveled all around the U.S., but this will be my first trip south of the border.  

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I took a course at SJSU with Melanie Sellar, a founder of LWB.  We spent a lot of time researching Guatemala and the Asturias Academy in Quetzaltenango, and we developed project proposals for specific issues affecting the school and the community there.  It was unlike any course I’ve ever taken for my MLIS, and I was incredibly inspired by the work being done at Asturias.  I’m excited to see the great work there firsthand!


Jay Peters

Jay Peters
Coquitlam Public Library
Collection Development team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I have been a librarian for the past 10 years; was at Western University just after LWB came into being.

Where else have you travelled?
Europe, Korea, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Mexico, Laos, Cambodia, Japan and Vietnam.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
A friend suggested it.  It’s nice to go to a new place and be able to help out at the same time.


Georgi Bordner

Georgianne (Georgi) Bordner
Head of Technical Services, Regent University Library, Virginia Beach, VA
Collection Development team, “assistant interpreter”

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
My father was a technical services librarian, and I was not only named for him, but followed in his footsteps professionally.  All of my experience has been in academic libraries, mostly in cataloging.  I have also done a lot of volunteer work with the Commission for International Library Advancement (CILA), a group with a similar mission to LWB’s. One of our main activities has been the training of overseas librarians who have not had the benefit of a formal education in library science.  I was involved in the production of The Librarian’s Manual, the textbook we use in our librarian training seminars, and also served as one of the translators and editors of the Spanish edition.

Where else have you travelled?
I participated in librarian training seminars with CILA in Bolivia, India, Trinidad, and Malaysia.  I have also traveled to Mexico, Peru, Ukraine, France, Switzerland, and Germany.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I saw the announcement for the trip in an ALA newsletter, and immediately knew I wanted to go.  Even though I have been able to travel to a variety of places, my primary interest has always been Latin America, so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity! I am looking forward to using my knowledge of Spanish and my library skills to make a difference in the library and the lives of the students and teachers who use it.


Chelsea Weissman

Chelsea Weissman
Children’s Librarian at the Grandview Library in Columbus, Ohio. I’m also a part time piano teacher.
Library Day Team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
The Guatemala service trip and I like them on facebook. 🙂

Where else have you travelled?
I studied for a semester in college in Hungary.  While there, I also got to travel to Greece, Austria, Italy, Belgium, and England.  Since then, I’ve been to Scotland, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Yosemite National Parks, Key West, Bar Harbor, San Francisco, Napa, Maui.  I’m going to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest in May!

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I saw it on the group “Storytime Underground” on facebook.  When I saw the post about it, I was very intrigued, as I’ve been wanting to do some kind of trip where I’m more immersed in a culture and in a different way than just being a tourist.  I then went to the information meeting and it sounded more amazing, so I applied.  I also love being a children’s librarian so this specific service trip sounded great!


Amy Moskovitz

Amy Moskovitz
Help Amy fund her trip
Teacher at Northfield Elementary School and graduate student (MLIS) at San Jose State University (SJSU).
Library Day team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I am currently pursuing my Master’s in library and information science and serve on my local public library’s Board of Trustees.

Where else have you travelled?
I have traveled mostly within the United States. Some of my favorite US destinations are New Orleans, Denver, San Francisco and Orlando. I have also traveled to the European countries of England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. This summer, I’m planning to visit Iceland.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about the LWB Guatemala trip through SJSU. I love to travel and have a passion for teaching and literacy. I thought this opportunity would combine my interest in international travel and exploration with my background and interests in teaching, libraries and literacy. I am very excited to be joining LWB on this amazing trip!

LWB at McGill & the Native Friendship Centre

The collaboration between the McGill chapter of Librarians Without Borders (LWB) and the Native Friendship Centre (NFC) of Montréal centres on the importance of connecting Indigenous communities with Indigenous literature and film. When LWB first formed a partnership with the Native Friendship Centre in autumn 2014, we were asked to find ways to promote literacy within the Indigenous community in Montréal, specifically through developing resources and programming at the NFC. We began by developing a small library for youth who frequent the NFC, with a focus on graphic novels and children’s books written by Indigenous authors. These materials often grapple with histories and experiences undergone by Indigenous communities in ways that are at once complex and accessible to younger readers. However, we’ve since realized that occasional visits by LWB to the NFC library are not enough to continue developing a sustainable relationship with the urban Indigenous community.

LWB McGill committee members cataloguing at the NFC

LWB McGill committee members
cataloguing at the NFC

In autumn 2015, our LWB chapter initiated weekly film showings in the NFC’s youth centre for young adults, again focusing on films made by and about Indigenous communities. Following the viewing itself, the participants, NFC animators, and LWB volunteers discuss any thoughts stirred by the film. Several participants have come to the viewings every week, and give us feedback on the different films. For instance, they have repeatedly expressed interest in learning about Indigenous communities from other parts of the world, and discussing how they are similar to or different than those in Montréal and Québec. As time goes on, the LWB chapter will purchase selected films to add to the NFC’s library for long-term access.

LWB has also partnered with a small library in the Katavic School Board that focuses on resources for learning Inuktitut. Through this collaboration we have learned a lot about the importance of language preservation and the role librarians can play in making these resources available.

In the future, LWB McGill would like to continue supporting initiatives both locally and internationally to assist Indigenous communities and help connect them with the various resources they need and want to use.

Join Our Team: Director of Operations

Join our Team


Ten years ago LWB was founded at a single university in Canada with a handful of MLIS students launching our work. Fast forward to 2016: we’re now an organization with multiple program partners, new project ideas and partners under development, and an executive team of twelve with six student sites, 500+ members worldwide, and more than 95 professionals who have participated on our annual service trips to Guatemala.

In other words, we are fortunate to now have a lot of moving parts! We are at the point in our growth where these parts would benefit from someone helping to keep tabs on them and keep them on track.

To that end, we are recruiting for a Director of Operations  (DoP) with a project management focus to join our team of Directors. The DoP will work alongside the two Co-Executive Directors and Director of Membership and Communications to advance the priorities of the organization.

Who are you? You’re a master of organization who enjoys putting sense and structure to work, who is excited about translating the big picture into daily practice, and who likes to collaborate with diverse teams.

We have a lot of ambitions for LWB. If you love the mission of LWB and would enjoy volunteering with us in this important role, please read on.

Reporting to the Co-Executive Director (Operations), the Director of Operations is responsible for ongoing partnership and program management support. You’ll have your finger on the pulse of our programs, and help shape our projects and move them forward. This includes:

  • project scheduling to identify when tasks will be performed and by which team/team member
  • tracking and reporting on project milestones, following up as necessary with team members
  • suggesting and potentially rolling out interventions when projects may run off-schedule
  • take minutes at core organizational meetings (directors, executive team, program heads, AGM)
  • convert varied meeting notes into action items in our  project management software
  • manage and monitor the main LWB general email account (

Your first task? Review our existing plans and help us choose a tool for managing them. Once the tool is up and running, you’ll port our plans into it and then help us stay on track.



  • You’re a master at organizing multiple projects, deadlines, resources and schedules.
  • You’re a team player (and team leader), self-motivated and able to use time wisely.
  • Disposition marked by maturity, resourcefulness, flexibility, empathy, and collegiality.
  • Good problem-solving skills and nimbleness are a must!


Time Commitment and Duration:

The work is expected to take 10-20 hours regularly per month, with a consistent 2-4 hours per week. There is no term limit on this position.

LWB is a virtual workplace. Our volunteers work from their home — wherever that may be — and collaborate across geography using web conferencing software provided by us. The virtual nature of our workplace allows you to work whenever is most convenient for you (aside from periodic scheduled synchronous meetings).



LWB is an entirely volunteer-run organization.

While we cannot offer monetary compensation, we can offer you a great experience for furthering your management aspirations in your professional career and a vibrant outlet for contributing to global librarianship in a leadership role. You will also find community with those who share similar interests and passions as you do!


How to Express Interest:

For questions or to explore your interest, please email Melanie Sellar and Mark Gelsomino at by February 26 (DEADLINE EXTENDED). When you’re ready to apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to Melanie and Mark at the email address listed above.

Thank you for a great year!

Thank you for making 2015 such a great year! It was our tenth anniversary, and we accomplished a lot thanks to you – and all of our supporters and members!

This was our fifth year partnering with the Asturias Academy in Guatemala. During this year’s service trip, we taught the students all about the library with an action-packed Library Day, brought books and catalogued materials in the library, and introduced new professional development for teachers.

Jasmin, one of this year’s trip participants, speaks about what she took away from the trip:

We also began a new partnership with Limitless Horizons Ixil in Chajul, Guatemala, and helped automate some of their work in order to free up the librarians for more individual support of community members.

We’re looking forward to making 2016 one of our best years yet! Thank you from all of us here at LWB.

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