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Librarians Without Borders in Guatemala

Librarians Without BordersFounded in February 2005, Librarians Without Borders (LWB) addresses the vast information resource inequity existing between different regions of the world. The group’s vision is to build sustainable libraries and support the librarians who keep these institutions running.

LWB is a nonprofit organization that endeavors to improve access to information resources notwithstanding language, geopolitics or religion by forming connections with area industries in developing regions.

Information Freedom and Literacy
Information literacy connects a library and its users. To that end, the Academy be designed to help users navigate the resources, services, and space, Librarians Without Boundaries it is incumbent upon the LWB to enhance information literacy skills in the region by devising curricula for trainees and by providing practical materials for educators for student application. LWB is creating a framework and presenting practical ideas, beyond basic literacy that is embedded in the Asturias curriculum.

Librarians serve an essential position as champions of intellectual freedom. They must grant equitable means to approach information. Access to information is vital in supporting learning and literacy, reducing poverty, empowering citizens, and building healthy, active communities.
Open access is critical in supporting education and literacy, reducing poverty, empowering citizens, and building healthy, vibrant communities. Librarians Without Boundaries does not draw cultural or linguistic boundaries; LWB embraces diversity; The organization will work with our partners in their cultural context and their languages.

One of LWB’s partners in Guatemala is the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy.

Through an association formed in 2009, LWB and Asturias act in tandem to promote literacy and learning by focusing on development and operation of a school and community library. By creating a community library in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
Every Spring since 2010, Librarians Without Boundaries travels to the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala to accomplish remote work on the ground, to discuss emerging needs with LWB partners, and to reconnect with the students and school staff.

Lending of Library Materials
LWB is working to implement a library loan system for local students and staff. The program is a significant milestone for the Academy since many students do not have books at home. By implementing specialized software to track and guide to the borrowing of materials a uniform library cataloging model is instituted and training library staff to use and maintain the library loan systems and equipment.

Implementing a borrowing system extends access to information resources not only for students and families but also the community-at-large. Increased borrowing privileges create opportunities for students and their families to engage in reading activities at home and during after school hours. LWB fosters strong literacy skills and a love of books in the community.

The 2017 Service Trip
The most recent program occurred this year from April 22 to May 12. LWB members performed such duties as:

  • Cataloging, processing, and supplementing the library’s collection with new materials.
  • Programming targets all students and levels through multi-day library events.
  • Professional development workshops for teachers promoting library integration into the curriculum.

The 2017 spring’s commitment at the Academy included ongoing collection development activities. LWB works with Miguel Angel Asturias Academy to provide opportunities for volunteers to engage in activities that will help nurture a thorough understanding of libraries, education and culture in Guatemala. The 2017 Miguel Angel Asturias Librarians Without Borders team brought with them to Guatemala over 200 books in their luggage!

Librarians Without Borders has thus made a massive difference in this community. Providing materials and education for libraries provides students with a more well-rounded education, and the communities most definitely prosper.


Heather Hopkins

Photo: Flickr