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.

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