Skill Share Programs: Volunteers Help Sustain Grassroots Libraries in Nicaragua
How It All Started The San Juan del Sur Biblioteca is Nicaragua’s first lending library, established in 2001. A community thirsty for books. And a Hotel Owner with the vision to fill a need and make a difference. Librarians and teachers provided the first essential information to initiate the program.
Where We Are Now The Biblioteca is a fully functional lending library with books in Spanish and English The Mobile aspect serves 31 communities surrounding San Juan del Sur. The Hester J. Hodgdon’s Libraries for All Program, a 501C3 Charitable Foundation, based in Loveland, Colorado is the conduit for funding. The Biblioteca serves as a community center for the community offering internet access and training, study sessions, English classes and enrichment classes for preschool. The HJH Program has provided a seed collection of books and mentoring for 32 new grassroots library projects throughout Nicaragua and into Central America .
Skill Share Project-Past Initial development of the Biblioteca Biblioteca Movil (Book Mobile) “Library in A Box”-seed collection and mentoring program Lending Model Story Hour Workshops Craft Projects Book Repair
The library at Tipitapa, a town outside of Managua. The library is part of the home of Dona Rosa.
Skill Share FutureVolunteer Tourism Library Skill Share Stimulates a growing interest in the lending model, literacy programs, story hours, blogging instruction, language and craft classes. Provides opportunity for increased collaboration between entities. Skills that have been taught are successfully being transferred and expanded.
Skill Share Future Non-Library Projects • Eco Stove building • Water purification projects • Solar projects • Sewing projects • Organic gardening • Composting • Addressing Ecology and health issues helps change the planet.
The Experience Volunteers often take a ride on the Biblioteca Movil to rural areas in Nicaragua. Library science students gain study abroad experience including overcoming problems such as lack of electricity, internet and basic infrastructure. Volunteers often take part in mentoring programs Workshops and books fairs put on by the Library.
The Take Away Volunteer Community Experience a rich and beautiful culture. Make everlasting friendships. Fun without technology. Learn how to Salsa dance. Climb a Volcano. “Been There, Done That and Going Back” Know you have contributed in a meaningful way. Make a real difference. Better quality of life. Creative projects for children New outlook on the future Forge deep friendships Appreciation for a different culture. Educational tools. Understand others Hope for the future
San Jose State Library Science Student Caitlin Rolston with children at La Flor, a Biblioteca Movil community.
Finally… Volunteers take their skills and creativity and adapt them to meet the needs and resources of the community they are helping. The innovation of the volunteers is the more valuable reward, in a country where money and resources are scarce. Skill Share Projects are part of an unprecedented surge of ordinary people choosing to step up and use their time, talents and travel to make a better world.
What You Can Do: • Donate or Coordinate Fundraising Efforts • Initiate Book and Supply Drives • Donate Weeded/Deaccessioned Books we can send a UPS Call tag and pay for shipping. • Volunteer Your Time & Skills
A personal greeting from :Susan Skog, The Give-Back Solution: Create a Better World with Your Time, Talents and Travel Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world," Nelson Mandela. Millions of children around the world are hungry to learn, but are illiterate and have no books, schools, or libraries. Many of them instead spend hours each day carrying heavy containers of water on their heads for miles when they long to carry books. Librarians can respond to this global longing with their skills, knowledge, and passion, whether you choose to get books into villages, teach students remotely through online tutoring, or support new libraries, schools, and clean water and energy systems, you can make all the world of difference -- while transforming your own world. The experience is bound to be the education of your lifetime, as well!" --
WHY PARTICIPATE IN THIS SURGE? WHY GO OR NOT GO? Don’t participate to: Feel better than “ those poor people” Pad your resume Escape from an unworkable job Save the world Do participate to: To share your skills and talents Immerse yourself in another culture Discover new experiences Become an aware international citizen Join in the transformation of the world
How to Get Involved Contact: HJHProgram@ aol.com or Jane Mirandette at: firstname.lastname@example.org For Reflections on Past Projects: Simmons College’s “Dispatches from the Field” http://gslis.simmons.edu/blogs/dispatches/nicaragua University of Maryland Blog Spot http://ischoolnicaragua.blogspot.com
FAQ’s • Do I need to be able to speak Spanish? • Is there a fee to participate in the volunteer projects • Do you provide housing and/or a stipend? • What projects should I volunteer for?