In August of 2017, we traveled to rural Chichicastenango, Guatemala (a small village called Canton Rio Camanibal) to build a library for an elementary school and then stock it with books.  In the very early planning stages, we thought we would build a Little Free Library (or maybe four or five of them!) as we are a family of readers and love the community-building concept of sharing with others.  The Little Free Library movement started in Wisconsin, so we were excited to take a little piece of our home state with us to Guatemala, the country we love so much.  When our Guatemalan friend, Victor, was visiting in Waukesha, we took him by one of the free-standing book centers and showed him our idea.

Unfortunately, there was concern that the books in Guatemala would not “stay around” if left in the open but he was anxious to share with us the special needs of an elementary school not far from where he lived in Chichicastenango.  He suggested that we build a larger set of bookcases and have a lockable cabinet on the front, such that the principal of the school could be responsible for “checking out” the books to various students at school, holding them responsible for their care until being returned.  While this was not the LFL ideal we had in mind, we are happy to know that we will still be able to fill a need and a want.

Victor told us that the children at this school do not have a library and that because they are so high in the mountains, the walk would be too long and treacherous to get to the public library in Chichi. Our goal is to raise the funds to build two very large bookcases that will serve as a library and then stock it with a minimum of 500 books!  To add to their literacy efforts, we have also pledged to donate 25 tablets and a connected RACHEL (Remote Area Community Hotspot for Education and Learning) server so that the teachers can give the kids an initial exposure to technology and one desktop PC for administrative use!  Here are ways to help, and here are some photos that the principal shared with us:

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This video shows many of the students together with their teachers, showing their excitement and appreciation for the support that we will provide.  I can’t wait to meet them in person!