Minibibliotecas (Little Free Libraries)
Initially, Casa Colibrí wanted to put a Little Free Library at the clinic so that the children waiting with their parents would be able to look at books and be entertained. It is a sad fact that there are no books in the homes, and no books to look at for any of the children in the villages we serve. Having books available in an attractive, kid-friendly little library opened the door for curiosity, imagination, and interest in books. Once that was established, we hoped to expand the project, village by village, so that more kids would have the opportunity to enjoy books.
The first two mini-libraries were purchased in the USA and shipped to Guatemala. This is not only time consuming, but it adds quite an expense to the project. We identified a local carpenter who will build the structures going forward, and the children themselves will design and paint them, giving them a sense of pride and ownership in the project. Children are taught how to care for books–how to treat them with respect. They can choose a book from the Little Free Library, take it home, and return it when they are done reading it. New books are purchased in Guatemala City as well as in the USA.
The Little Free Libraries ae contagious! Once they are introduced to a community, they are an instant hit. Children are taught how to care for and respect books, and they do so lovingly. The expansion of the project went hand in hand with our Readers to Leaders program. After the children have completed Readers to Leaders, we wanted to make more books available to them so they could continue to improve their reading skills. They clamor to exchange books and get new ones, and the excitement generated by having books available is palpable.
Hope For The Future
We have committed to establish a Little Free Library in each community where the Readers to Leaders program has taken place. To date, we have established two mini libraries, with three more on the horizon. A local carpenter will build the structures, and the children themselves will design and paint them. Casa Colibrí staff will maintain the book collections, making sure that the books are in good condition and that there is a wide variety of reading materials on hand.