Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A praiseworthy initiative

It started small but it is growing by the day; it is still very much local but has always had an international flair "attached" to it. What makes the "San Juan Del Sur Biblioteca Móvil" distinct however is its effectiveness: from its very first day of operation it has tremendously benefited the locals and the community in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. But let us pause momentarily to briefly explain the "San Juan Del Sur Biblioteca Móvil" project.

An initiative of Jane Mirandette, the project started as a way to literally "bring the books to the Nicaraguans"; in a country where 50% of the people live in poverty and a third of the society is illiterate access to books is a privilege reserved to the very few. What Mirandette did was to set up a small lending library in the 'backyard' of her hotel: the very first lending library of the country was the beginning of a much bigger project. The library found its own place a block down the street and the aspirations grew; a 'mobile library' would spring out of this, so as to serve the the villages of the region. Today, books are rotating reaching as many as 27 communities in rural Nicaragua. Hence the name "San Juan Del Sur Biblioteca Móvil" which translates to "Mobile Library of San Juan del Sur". In the meantime, Mirandette established a not-for-profit organization based in Colorado, USA: the project was well underway.

To the best of my knowledge the project is growing virtually by the day and the much-needed contributions, mostly from the US and elsewhere abroad, are fueling the project. When I was in San Juan del Sur in November I saw the "headquarters" but I can only imagine the significance of this library moving to remote villages where the percentage of illiteracy is greater and access to books a rare occurrence. A perfect example of what "sound development in practice" is, the library is administered by the locals who know the needs of the people best and volunteers from abroad who bring their expertise. Most importantly, while promoting literacy and educational opportunities the project does not interfere with the traditional patterns of living: by providing opportunities for education in one's village it reconciles work and family obligations with education and intellectual growth.

Praise for the achievements of this project goes to all those involved, directly or indirectly, in San Juan del Sur or elsewhere in the world. The labor of love bears fruits by the day in Nicaragua; it also transcends the borders of the small country proving to the rest of us that the joined forces of humanity can bring change, positive change. Something which indeed is useful to remember nowadays as the deleterious effects of dubious in nature and often catastrophic initiatives monopolize our attention in many ways and quite often end up preventing us from seeing beyond the facet of reality which is masterfully tossed upon us.

A condensed presentation of the "San Juan Del Sur Biblioteca Móvil" activities.

For more information please visit the site of "San Juan Del Sur Biblioteca Móvil". The site has an English and a Spanish version.


Pixie said...

This is a really worthwhile initiative!I am amazed that you know all that information and I think that you are a wonderful person for caring!I like the new look of your blog!Its beautiful.I was away for a few days and I just saw it!

AC Stranger said...

How many days/weeks can this mobile library stay at one given location? And how many books can someone read in this time space? Especially when they are working 15-16 hours a day?

Going a bit off-topic now i'd like to suggest

Good work, keep it up.

Anastasia Konstantakatou said...

pixie, thank you for your kind comments (again!)

ac stranger, welcome, thank you. I honestly do not know how the schedule works on the top of my head but I guess this is something that one can find out. You could try sending them an email (via the website) or if you want I could trying getting back to the people in Nicaragua.

As for bookcrossing, I have tried it, it's fun!

Elpidia García said...

Jane Mirandette´s example is one to emulate specially in those poor communities whith little or non existent access to libraries. The difference that a book can make in the lives of children and teenagers, can move their destiny towards intellectual enlightenment or spiritual darkness. From that point of view, books can save lives. That´s why the great importance of these individual initiatives.


alzap said...

You are so sweet!

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