2012 Report to the Derossi Foundation from Reading Village’s Flourishing Knowledge Public Library - Concepcion, Sololá

Never underestimate what these young leaders are capable of dreaming and doing! In July, 15 teens who are reading promoters in Concepcion initiated a conversation with their city council about a library for their town. The result of this courageous act is that the council turned over a set of keys ... to an unused building. That building is now known throughout the village as the Flourishing Knowledge Library in Kaqchikel. It’s a place where anyone can go to read or borrow a book. On November 14, 2012, while in Guatemala, I interviewed six of the youth library committee members (Luis, Angelica, Carlos, Francisca, Maribel and Victor) along with our staff, Daniel and Ismael.

The Grant Funds - The Derossi Grant of $1,500 provided the basic essentials to get the library functioning: books, tables, chairs and shelves. Their initial intent is on serving children so the shelves, tables and chairs are child size. The book selections are also aimed at children.  Reading Village is allowing RV storybooks to be used in the library, and they also received a large donation of storybooks from Guatemala City solicited by Daniel. Reference books were added on school topics to help kids do their homework (math, science, social studies, etc).

Community Support - The teens have reached out to the adults in the community. A number of adults have joined in the work and donated stools, paint, brooms, a table and some funds.  The teens have a plan to speak at all the churches in town to inform people about the library and to enlist their support. A market has just opened in Concepcion, so the teens are thinking about how they can be present to promote the library there as well .

How the Youth Will Raise More Funds - The teens and adults involved organized a raffle for their saint’s day celebration on December 8. They collected donations of objects to raffle off and will sold tickets for Q2 apiece. They are also planning other fundraising events, such as a youth film and discussion event, and some “bake sales” (atol, tamales, etc). 

Impact already - They are still classifying and organizing books and determining the arrangement of shelves, tables and chairs, etc, and plan to hold the opening ceremony in January. But every time they open the doors to have a meeting or organize books, etc, children arrive, excited about reading books, and fill the space.

What They’ve Learned - Luis, as president of the group, expressed that he has learned a lot through this project about how to lead a group. The others have learned a lot about working as a group to make decisions and organize themselves to get the work done. This was their first-ever experience speaking in front of the town council.  They are filled with gratitude for the support of the Derrosi and Lake Atitlan Libraries representatives, whom they met in February, and for the funding to start their community Library.                

-Linda Smith, Founder, Reading Village (edited and submitted by Louise Eidsmoe, LAL) 

Website: ReadingVillage.com

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Library - Concepción, Sololá, 2012

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