Our local newspaper, Asheville Citizen-Times, just published a great and heartfelt editorial on BiblioWorks and our work in Bolivia written by our in-country project coordinator, Matt Lynn.
Our commitment to literacy and education is at the heart of Biblio and was the mission we charged BiblioWorks with when we founded the 501(c)3 in 2005 after completing the construction of our first library in Morado K’asa, Bolivia. We are continually amazed at the impact BiblioWorks has in the communities it works in, and are proud of Matt and the work his team is able to do with the limited resources they have available.
For those who don’t want to read the whole article, I think this quote, taken from the end is a pretty good summation of what our libraries mean in these communities:
On my most recent visit to Tomina, I entered a classroom of third-graders and asked them if they wanted to have a library where they could go read stories in their town. I received a resounding, screaming “YES” from the entire classroom.
That’s what has always struck me in my visits to our libraries: the sheer excitement and commitment they generate in their communities, from children to adults. And, they’re always packed with people reading.
And, that’s great to see coming from a country where we consistently undervalue the importance of our own libraries (and slash their funding at every chance). But, let me take the opportunity for a shout out to libraries and library staff here in the U.S.: you guys rock! And, I apologize for all of us who take you and your work for granted. In fact, I love how Matt put it in his article:
During my time in Bolivia and especially in my work with BiblioWorks, I’ve come to realize that libraries have always been a part of my life and that they are a beautiful element of U.S. culture. Without them, I would not be the person I am today.
So, while I’m entreating folks to help us create this beautiful element of culture for poor communities in South America, let me also entreat folks to preserve this beautiful element of culture here in the U.S. and support your own local library. Or, at least give a librarian a hug today 😉