Category: News

Interview: Dorita on her role at the Asturias library

by Kerry Purvis, LWB Guatemala Service Trip 2015 participant

During the Librarians Without Borders 2015 service trip I had the privilege of interviewing Dorita, the librarian at the Miguel Ángel Asturias Academy. I asked her questions about the library and its role in the school.


How long have you worked in the library?
For three years as the librarian. I worked as a teacher for four years, then I left because of an illness. In 2012 I returned to become the librarian.

Why do you think it’s important to have a library at the school?
It’s so important because it helps students with vocabulary and with reading. In this country there aren’t a lot of opportunities to have extra help with reading. Guatemalan schools have a reading curriculum but they don’t usually have libraries. Libraries offer that additional help.

Let’s talk about your role with the teachers. Do the teachers come to the library to ask you to look for books for their classes?
Yes, they come often.

Do teachers look for books on their own, or do they ask you for help?
It depends. Some ask for help, some don’t. The new teachers ask for help because using the library is new to them.

How do you communicate with teachers? Do they come to the library to speak with you?
The school staff have meetings on Monday afternoons and I recommend books to the teachers. I recommend books that follow the school’s monthly theme. Teachers also come to the library to ask me questions.

What books did you recommend this month?
This month’s theme is ecology and one of the titles I recommended was El Mago Que Salvó El Mundo (The Magician Who Saved the World).

How do you encourage teachers to use the library?
At the beginning of the year the new I do an orientation with the new teachers. One thing I do is show them how to read to their classes.

Can teachers check out books like the kids can? For how long?
Yes they can. Teachers can check books out for one week. I keep index cards with each teacher’s name, and when they want to check out a book they tell me the book’s title and I write it down on the index card. When they return the book I cross the name out on the card.


Do you read out loud to the students in the library or do the teachers?
It depends. Sometimes I do, sometimes they do. Sometimes teachers read to their classes if I am helping a child. Teachers stay with their class when they come to the library so I can help children who want to find books.

What’s your favorite thing about working at the library?
I like working with the kids, especially helping those who haven’t been to school yet or who can’t write. For instance, I work with one student one-on-one once a week for an hour and we play games to help him with his reading. Sometimes he comes more than once a week if he needs more help.


Annual General Meeting: July 29, 2015

Librarians Without Borders is hosting our 10th Annual General Meeting

Members: Please join us to hear about LWB work over the last year.

Date: Wed, July 29, 2015

Time: 6:00-7:30 pm EST

Place: Online via web conference

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Our AGM will be held as a webinar to allow members near and far to participate. The instructions for registration will be sent via email to all of our members later this week. If you do not get your AGM package and invite, please contact to request a new email be sent. We look forward to convening with you.

Join our Team: Accepting Nominations for Executive Leadership

Librarians Without Borders’ 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM) is soon approaching, and with it comes elections of particular Executive positions as required by our bylaws. Download and read the job descriptions below for more information about what we’re looking for and how to apply.

Executive Team

Co-Executive Director (1 position)


Membership Director

To Apply

Read the application instructions in the job descriptions, complete the materials, and send to no later than July 17, 2015. Please direct all questions to

Candidate summaries will be disseminated to the membership in the AGM package prior to the AGM and candidates will be voted into office by LWB members who attend the AGM and those who have voted by proxy.

Executive Team

Collection Development at the Asturias Academy


By Kerry Purvis

The 2015 Librarians Without Borders Collection Development team did some great work at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy this year! This year the project focused on cataloging newly purchased books, reclassifying teacher resource materials, and mending damaged books. All five team members received training on the cataloging system prior to the trip and put the training to use on site.

Before arriving at the Asturias Academy the team stopped by the Piedra Santa publishing company in Guatemala City where they purchased 19 books to add to the library’s collection, and where trip participants purchased additional books individually to donate. The team added a total of 56 new books to the collection.

The team was responsible for classifying the books, adding a call number and adding stickers to the books to explain their reading level and genre. They referred to a Spanish Dewey list when adding call numbers. The school’s books are cataloged by Dewey subjects only and they do not go past the decimal point. After assigning a call number they began by dividing the books into three reading levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.The team then selected the genre of the book, assigned the book a reading level, and added color-coded labels. Once the book had a call number and its labels the team then referred the school’s master inventory of 4,851 items to see if there was already a copy of the book in the collection. The school’s librarian Dorita maintains the entire catalog in an Excel spreadsheet. Following that the team then wrote on the back of the cover the reading level (P, I, A), call number, first three letters of the author or editor, and copy number if there was more than one copy.

The team took on several side projects as well. Some of the books were translated into Spanish to make them bilingual books. These were pictures books that had plenty of space to add additional English text. The team also reclassified teacher resource materials, which had been in a separate category. The category was eliminated and and reclassified as advanced books.

A future goal of the collection development team is to help the library create a collection development policy.

Click below to see Alexandra Ferguson talks about Asturias Collection Development



Join Our Team: Automation Specialists

LWB is recruiting two Automation Specialists to help a Guatemalan library scale to serve more community members in the rural, mountainous town of Chajul, Guatemala. The library has a great problem: a quickly growing patron base! Because its processes are mostly manual, LWB is working with them to automate some of their work in order to free up the librarians for more individual support of community members.

Chajul’s largely indigenous population was a significant target of atrocities — including massacres and scorching of villages — committed during Guatemala’s 36-year civil war. The legacy of these atrocities lives on, although a Mayan resurgence, which aims to exalt and give voice to Mayan people locally and nationally, is growing.

Education is critical to this Mayan empowerment, but due to a lack of Spanish / literacy skills in the region generations of Maya Ixil Guatemalans remain unable to advocate for themselves, access key resources, attain good jobs, or support Spanish literacy development in their children.

To help address the community’s education needs, Limitless Horizons Ixil established the Saber sin Límites Community Library in 2010. This is the first and only library to serve the 20,000 people in Chajul. The library provides critical access to reading materials and related literacy educational programs for its 1,600 members, whose numbers continue to grow.

The LWB Automation Specialists will help LHI automate some of its processes so that it can continue to scale and serve even more community members. The four-month project (June to September 2015) will focus on a patron library-card scanning system, and will culminate in the delivery of software plus a barcode scanner that LWB will deploy in its site visit to Chajul at the end of September.

Please download and read the job description here, as well as information about how to apply: Automation Specialists Job Description. Join our team and contribute to this meaningful work!


Bringing the Library into the Classroom


At the request of Jorge Chojolan and the teachers at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy, this year marks the first service trip where LWB offered a professional development workshop for the staff of the school.

“When I was here three years ago, the library was set up and the kids were starting to get comfortable with the space and the books. Once we reached that milestone, there was a new need – to bring teachers into the library and get them comfortable with integrating the library into their curriculum”, said Xenia Kourgouzova, project lead.

Referred to as ‘Library Day 2.0’, the main goal was to have a discussion with the Asturias teachers about how they could incorporate the library and its resources into their lessons and their classrooms, and about the importance of the library in improving student performance.

“The goal was not to teach teachers how to teach. The goal was to provide them with some ideas of how they could use the library and interest their students in using the library”, added Kourgouzova.

The members of the Professional Development team were Rebecca Lahr, Natalie Baur, and Stephanie Anderson.

After an introduction by Jorge, the agenda for the two hour workshop was:

Library as a Lab & the ‘Flipped’ Classroom (Natalie)
Leading to the brainstorming session in the second half of the workshop, Natalie talked about the concept of using the library as a place for discovery and innovation, and ‘flipping’ the classroom to have the students lead their learning and do research based on their own questions.

Guided Research (Rebecca)
Following Natalie, Rebecca discussed how the teachers could help guide their students to find the answers to their questions.

Early Literacy ( Stephanie)
Stephanie talked about the definition of early literacy, its importance, and demonstrated an example phonological awareness activity using books from the Asturias library.

Values Education (Xenia)
Xenia used examples from the Olympic Values Education Program Toolkit to demonstrate how topics such as excellence, friendship, and respect can be presented to the students in the form of activities and how they can help cultivate joy of effort, fair play, respect for others, pursuit of excellence and enhance balance between body, will and mind.

Brainstorming Exercise
The teachers then broke into two groups to brainstorm how they could use the library as an incubator or lab for learning.

The teachers agreed that in order to use the library in this way, they would need to change their thinking to be more creative. Some of their ideas were:
puzzles and educational games for the library, e.g those that would teach shapes
use the library for vocabulary lessons, e.g. ask their students to find a particular word in a book in the library, read a passage from a book and discuss the words that they don’t know, or keep a journal of new words they’ve learned.
hold a science fair or math olympics in the library
have the students create their own plays

As part of the exercise, the teachers also discussed what resources they would need to bring their ideas to life so that those needs could be integrated into a future collections plan for the library.

“The main feedback after the workshop from the teachers was that they all were very excited about trying to use the library as a laboratory”, said Kourgouzova.

Our Latest Guatemala Program Assistant Report

CommunityBy Vanessa Holm

This semester I was fortunate to be selected for an internship with Librarians Without Borders (LWB) as their International Program Assistant/Guatemala Intern. In this position I was responsible for supporting projects related to their newest partner, Limitless Horizons Ixil (LHI), and specifically the Saber Sin Limites Library in Chajul, Guatemala. I decided to apply for this internship in order to better develop an international perspective of librarianship.

The first project I worked on was the development of a guide to best practices for library programming. In order to do this I applied knowledge learned during my MLIS to the creation and analysis of various training models and then the selection of appropriate learning resources and services. This project involved researching literacy activities for children, as well as reading about how libraries around the world facilitate their storytimes, and also, doing research on culturally appropriate songs, crafts and activities for children in Chajul, Guatemala. From this research I created a report, as well as a PowerPoint presentation, for the librarians in Chajul.

The second project I worked on involved designing a library open house script, including literacy activities, for the Saber Sin Limites Library. In order to begin work on this project I started by meeting with Mark Gelsomino (LWB Co-Executive Director) to discuss library day at Asturias Academy in Guatemala. I then researched methods for improving pre-literacy and early literacy activities for youth as well as approaches to art and other creative activities for engaging pre-literate and literate youth in reading. Based on this research I created an overview, assessment, and recommendations for a dynamic Library Open House to take place at Saber Sin Limites Library.

The final project I worked on involved developing instructional materials and facilitating training for Guatemalan librarians. This included researching training and certification courses; the focus of this project was to do preliminary research on how LWB could deliver training remotely to partner libraries. I began by doing research on methods for improving pre-literacy and early literacy activities for youth and researching the pros/cons of various training models. I also surveyed how other nonprofits provide asynchronous and synchronous training remotely for international partners. From this research I developed a list of possible approaches that LWB could undertake which also included my general recommendations.

Overall, I had an excellent experience working with LWB. I hope that the work I did was relevant and useful to the organization, as well as their partner, LHI, the librarians at Saber Sin Limites, and most importantly, the community of Chajul.


*Guatemala photo and Limitless Horizons logo courtesy of Limitless Horizons Ixil.

Library Day at Asturias Academy

IMG_9511The Librarians Without Borders team finished up two days full of mermaids, ninjas, constellations and global exploration! The theme for this years Library Day was Discovering Dewey. In this two day program the children were introduced to three subjects of the Dewey Decimal system through educational activities and fun crafts. This year was the third Library Day program for LWB and it has functioned as a way to instill a sense of fun into learning. The Library Day team aimed to introduce students to a common classification system as well as spark their interest in discovering more subjects in their own library.

The youngest children participated in three interactive stations – 500s Astronomy and Constellations, 300s Ninjas and Fairytales and the 900s Geography, while the oldest children participated in a creative story and puppet theatre activity The students were able to interact with the LWB team to learn about different constellations and their stories, how to locate fairytales in their library and also different cultures in the world. The students were able to discover the Dewey Decimal System on a small scale and we hope that this connected their interests in exploring their library for more subjects.

IMG_9518500s Astronomy and Constellations

At this station students learned about what astronomy entails by focusing on the solar system. Students used books from each planet to place themselves in the correct order around the sun and then shared something about each planet from their books. After this the students learned about different constellations and the stories that go along with them. Lastly for their craft they created their own telescope using printed out constellations attached to the end.

IMG_9281300s Ninjas and Fairytales

This station introduced the 300s by focusing on fairytales and ninjas. The students talked about different classic fairytales they may have known and then created clothespin mermaids and pipe cleaner ninjas.

IMG_9558900s Geography

For the geography station students were able to learn about different countries and choose different places they would like to visit and why. In this station they began by looking through various continent books and travel magazines to discover and learn about different cultures around the world. Once students were interested in a destination they used stickers, cutouts and flags to paste onto a giant map. After two days the map was a beautiful sight of future places and destinations the students wanted to visit someday.

IMG_9556Mad-Libs and Puppet Theatre

The oldest students created a fairytale through a fill-in-the-blank activity choosing various parts of speech. After they completed their story they created cut out characters to re-enact their story through a shadow puppet theatre. The youngest children were even able to enjoy this performance

Guatemala Traveler Bios!

IMG_9016Xenia Kourgouzova
Information & Knowledge Manager
Lausanne, Switzerland
Trip Co-Lead, Professional Development Team Lead

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’m a graduate of the McGill University School of Information Studies in Montreal,  Canada, and was the co-chair of the McGill LWB Student Committee.

Where else have you travelled?
I’ve travelled all over the world. I’ve lived in Russia,  Canada and now Switzerland.  I spent summers in Florida as a child. I haven’t been to South America or Australia yet!

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I went on the service trip in 2012. I made great friends on that trip and stayed in touch with them. I always wanted to come back because somehow I felt that I wasn’t done with Guatemala after the first trip. I can actually see a big change between three years ago and now. The country’s developing and the library grew as well – at least 50% since the last time I was here.  Dorita [Asturias librarian] has taken on a strong role in the library as well, and just by looking around the library you can see that it’s being used to discuss important topics and themes.

Alexandra FergusonAlexandra Ferguson
Collection Development
Edmundston, New Brunswick
Trip Co-Lead

Where do you work?
Haut-St.-Jean Library Region, Regional Office

Where have you traveled?
I’ve traveled throughout Canada and the U.S., and England and France as a student. After my undergrad I moved to Japan to teach English for a year and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in India. Afterward I moved to South Korea for two years, traveled to Indonesia, and backpacked South America for four months visiting Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Columbia. In 2013 I visited Guatemala as a student participant in LWB’s service trip.

What is your connection to LWB?
I was originally a student member then co-chair of the LWB committee at Western University Faculty of Information and Media Studies. I heard about the project trip to Guatemala in 2012 and was very fortunate to be chosen as a trip participant in 2013.

How did you hear about the trip:
As an LWB member, I receive updates and news from the organization. I saw a posting for project lead in one of their emails and decided to apply. I had such a wonderful experience as a student participant on the 2013 service trip, so I just jumped at the opportunity to co-lead this year’s trip.

What made you want to come?
My trip in 2013 was so memorable that ever since I’ve wanted to return to the Miguel Asturias Academy. Jorge, his family, and all the staff there have done and continue to do amazing work and if I can help out in any way, I would love to be a part of it. It’s wonderful to see how much the library has grown and how well-used it’s become to students and teachers alike.

Erika HeesenErika Heesen
CEO, Perth and District Union Public Library
Perth, Ontario, Canada
Communications Team Lead

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I was one of the founding members of the University of Toronto iSchool LWB student committee in 2009. I wanted to stay involved with the work that LWB is doing, so I’ve been volunteering as Membership Director since 2011.

Where else have you traveled?
I lived in Ireland for four months and traveled throughout Europe and in Canada and the United States.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I’ve wanted to come on this trip for a few years, and this year was finally the year! I really wanted to be able to use the skills that I have to help develop the library at the Asturias Academy, and I’m also here to learn—what libraries are like in Guatemala, what the culture around books and reading looks like, and what our partner’s goals are for the future.

Elissa SperlingElissa Sperling
Library Science Student at McGill University School of Information Studies, Canada
Working at a Public Library in Montreal, Canada
Library Day Project

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
LWB was part of what attracted me to McGill, the Information Science programs in the U.S. don’t have LWB. I got involved right away as part of the LWB McGill student chapter and will be the Co-Chair next year.

Where else have you traveled?
I’ve been to over 40 countries. I’ve enjoyed many places, but my favorites so far have been Mongolia and Georgia.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
My interest in this trip is related to why I wanted to study Library Science. I want to be a librarian and work in public libraries. This trip really combines all of my interests. I love books and reading. I like to teach and I love to work with children. I like to help people and of course I love to travel.

Jasmin AvilaJasmin Avila
Library Science Student at San Jose State University, California
Working as Programming Aide at Santa Cruz Public Libraries
Santa Cruz, California
Communications Project

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I work as a Library Aide for the Santa Cruz Public Libraries in our Programs and Partnerships department. I first heard about LWB in one of my classes at SJSU because it was used as a case study while learning about global libraries.

Where else have you traveled?
I have traveled to Italy, Mexico and Canada.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about the trip through my Information Science Program and wanted to come because I wanted to experience first hand how libraries function in other countries outside of the U.S. I was very inspired by the work LWB does and wanted to contribute to the documentation of the project as well as put into practice what I’ve learned in both my Information Science program and my library.

Debbie ChavezDebbie Chavez
Adult Services Librarian at Pima County Public Library
Tucson, Arizona
Library Day Project

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
At my library I work in Adult Services. I work a lot with refugees and immigrants from all around the world and I’ve also done a lot of work in Early Literacy. I had heard about LWB before and had kept up with the organization’s work.

Where else have you traveled?
I have traveled mostly in Mexico while visiting family and working with an organization that helps people from a poor neighborhood.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I heard about the trip through Facebook and I wanted to be part of the trip because I have wanted to come and do work in Guatemala since the 90’s after reading “I, Rigoberta Menchu”. This book focused the worlds attention on the horrific events and atrocities being committed against the indigenous people of Guatemala. When I saw that LWB had the opportunity to come and do good work here I knew I wanted to come.

20150427_110219Rebecca Lahr
Library Science Student at University of British Columbia
Worked at Small Business Accelerator, UBC Libraries
Vancouver,  BC, Canada
Professional Development Project

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I’m a student right now – aspiring librarian! I worked in an academic library when I was an undergrad at the University of Minnesota and I did an archiving internship at the Library of Congress.  I’ve attended a few LWB events at UBC and this has been a great opportunity to get to know LWB a little bit more and what they’re all about.

Where else have you travelled?
As an undergrad at the University of Minnesota,  my minor was in Spanish Studies and I travelled to Venezuela for about six weeks to improve those language skills. I’ve also done a lot of domestic travel in the US, particularly the Mountain West, and of course, being American, travelled to Canada for my studies.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I had heard about LWB before starting library studies. Most recently a close friend recommended I look into the trip and I decided to apply.  I think it’s very important as professionals to look at the different ways that people view libraries and the different contexts in which libraries exist.  I think that we take for granted the openness of public library systems. Being here and seeing what the libraries offer here – you understand the privilege that we have to really utilize some amazing resources in our own areas.

Natalie BaurNatalie Baur
Archivist, Cuban Heritage Collection at the University of Miami Libraries
Miami, Florida
Professional Development Project

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I am a librarian by training. I have a degree in library science from the University of Maryland, but I specialized in archives, information and records management. I have a background in history, and I decided to go into special collections and went from there into archives. For LWB, my interest was in getting to know another sector of library work—I don’t have any experience with school libraries – and also that the project was in Guatemala.  I’m very interested in library and archives development in Latin America.

Where else have you traveled?
I lived in Ecuador for two years and travel back there frequently for both fun and work. I’ve also been to Colombia, Suriname, Aruba, Spain, Canada, and Panama.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I actually heard about the trip a few years ago through a listserv and I’ve been following the trip since then through Facebook and the website. This year I finally had a chance to apply so I’m happy to be here!

Sheila LaroqueSheila Laroque
Library Science Student at the University of Toronto, Canada
Working at Robarts at the University of Toronto, Canada
Library Day Project

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I was first year co-chair of the U of T student chapter this past year. I heard about what LWB was doing and I thought it was amazing, I really wanted to get involved.

Where else have you traveled?
I studied abroad in India and I’ve also been to Italy, Greece, New York and Hawaii.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I thought this project in and of itself was a great thing to contribute to and something that would be a new experience for me but also a space where I could reinforce and use the skills I already have.

Kerry PurvisKerry Purvis
Portland, Maine, USA
Communications Team
San José State University i-School

Where have you traveled?
USA, Canada, Spain, Honduras, and now Guatemala!

What is your connection to LWB/libraries?
I am working on my MLIS through San José State University. I recently took a course called Global Library Issues Using Project-Based Learning that specifically focused on literacy issues in the Guatemalan communities working with LWB. I also worked at Fogler Library at the University of Maine when I was getting my BA, and I volunteered with the public relations department at the Bangor Public Library in Bangor, Maine.

How did you hear about the trip?
Through an email announcement through San José State.

What made you want to come on the trip?
I went to Honduras on a University of Maine service trip seven years ago and I have been wanting to do more international service work since then. I have a BA in Spanish and I am working on an MLIS, so I was really excited to learn about a trip that involved two of my passions, the Spanish language and libraries! I am a firm believer that all people deserve access to information regardless of where they live, so I was thrilled to see an opportunity to work with an organization that is working toward that goal on a global level.

Cheryl RowanCheryl Rowan
Collection Development
Kingwood (Greater Houston), Texas, USA

Where have you traveled?
USA, Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, Belize, Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island

Where do you Work?
Most recently, I held two positions with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region as the Consumer Health Coordinator and Public Health Coordinator. In those positions, I promoted resources and services throughout the states of Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas. For the past three months I have been working as a “freelance” medical librarian, providing health information resources to a wide variety of audiences. I have very recently been appointed to a three-year position as the Editor for MLA News.

What is your connection to LWB/libraries?
Prior to this trip, I had no connection with LWB. I have worked in public, K-12 school, and medical sciences libraries.

How did you hear about the trip?

I received the announcement from a colleague who knew about my previous connections to Guatemala and thought I might be interested.

What made you want to come on the trip?
I have been to Guatemala many times with the organization CEDEPCA (the Protestant Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America) centered in Guatemala City and wanted to expand the scope of my experience in Guatemala. Whenever I spend time in Guatemala I learn new things about the country, its culture, and the issues facing the people here.

Madiha ChoksiMadiha Choksi
Collection Development
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
University of Toronto

Where have you traveled?
Canada, US, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jamaica, Spain and France

What is your connection to LWB?
I joined the LWB group at the University of Toronto iSchool.

How did you hear about the trip?
In an email from the LWB chapter at University of Toronto

What made you want to come on the trip?
I think what drew me to the trip was the opportunity to use what I am learning in class about collection development and cataloging to help out a library that could use the help for free. I knew it would be very fulfilling and rewarding to see my work make a difference.

Angela KwokAngela Kwok
Library Science Student at the University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada
Collection Development Team

What’s your connection to LWB and/or libraries?
I serve as the chair of the LWB student chapter at the University of Western Ontario; this will be my third term with LWB. I also volunteer at the archives of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in London, Ontario.

Where have you traveled?
Aside from Canada I have lived in France and Japan. I’ve also traveled to Eastern Canada, United States, Mexico, Poland, Switzerland, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, and now Guatemala.

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
I first heard about the trip at the student orientation at the University of Western Ontario in September, and then again on Facebook when LWB was looking for volunteers. What drew me to LWB was its mission of providing people access to information regardless of their region, gender, religion, etc. I thought I could help make a positive impact on communities with information needs. I think it’s extremely important for us as librarians to be aware and get involved in international librarianship in order to build stronger communities.

Carlos TorresCarlos Torres
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Collection Development Team
Algonquin College

Where have you traveled?
US, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Morocco, Mexico, Europe

What is your connection to libraries/LWB?
I studied library studies at Algonquin College

How did you hear about the trip?
A friend of mine from college told me about it. He went on the trip two years ago.

What made you want to come on the trip?
I wanted to help others in doing what I love to do. I have Latin American roots so it is a good match. It is also good to go to new countries and understand new cultures.

Stephanie AndersonStephanie Anderson
Library Science Student, University of Arizona
Library Assistant, Salt Lake County Library
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Professional Development Team

What is your connection to libraries and/or LWB?
I currently work as a library assistant managing a small outreach branch. We take the discards from the library system and I sort them, etc, and then I give a free book to every child who visits to encourage literacy in the home. I also do outreach to hospitals, homeless shelters, refugee centers, and a shelter for abused or neglected children. So I do a lot of outreach with high-risk and low-income families.

Where else have you travelled?
I’ve been to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, and now Guatemala!

How did you hear about the Guatemala trip and what made you want to come?
It was an email from my university, and I’d been looking to do some sort of study abroad because I love travelling and working in developing countries. I’d never been to Guatemala, and I was very interested in learning more about how libraries worked here, so I was really excited when I came across this!


LWB Heads to Guatemala for Fifth Consecutive Year



Librarians Without Borders Works to Create a Reading Culture in Guatemala

April 24, 2015


Librarians Without Borders (LWB) members from across North America will be traveling to the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala from April 24-May 4 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. Each spring, a small group travels to the Academy to do work in the school’s library, to discuss emerging needs with the school, and to re-connect with the students and school staff. In their fifth year traveling to Guatemala, LWB plans to continue work with the Academy to help cultivate a reading culture and to increase book use and literacy within the school and community.

“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 is almost impossible to get children excited about reading because many cannot get actual books in their hands”, said Mark Gelsomino, Co-Executive Director of LWB. “Our goal is to work with our partners to give the local community access to a sustainable public library”.

This year’s work at the Academy will include collection management activities (cataloguing, processing, and organizing materials) and information literacy/outreach programming for students and teachers.

“In addition to our regular work, we will be providing a Professional Development Day for the teachers of the Academy for the first time”, said Gelsomino. “We will be providing training for the teachers on how they can use the resources of the library and integrate those resources into the classroom”.

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.

This year, LWB welcomes TinLids as our premiere sponsor of the 2015 service trip to Guatemala.

tinlids logo

Tinlids Inc. is a Canadian wholesaler of books for children and teens serving schools and public libraries across the country. Their love of literature for young people shines through in all the work they do, as they help teachers and librarians select the best books and build great collections. Tinlids is owned and operated by Maria Martella, a veteran of the children’s book industry for more than twenty-five years. For more information please visit

Thank you TinLids for your commitment to libraries and literacy!

For more information:

Mark Gelsomino, Co-Executive Director,

Melanie Sellar, Co-Executive Director,


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