PAZ Y VIDA, Biblioteca Paz y Vida
With efforts from organizations in France, Germany, the USA, and Nicaragua, Biblioteca Paz y Vida opened in 2018. German ambassador Ute Konig congratulated the village at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The residents of Paz y Vida were once homeless. Now they live in small houses with running water and electricity. Instead of fetching water and wood, the children go to school. Afterwards they rush to the library where they color, study, and read―and prepare for a future of literacy and opportunity.
LA LAGUNA, Biblioteca Frankfurt
Until a few years ago, the students at Escuela San Pablo learned to read exclusively from the blackboard: they had no books at all. So, when the community of La Laguna heard that a US organization was creating libraries nearby, they got busy. By the time FBTB arrived, they could proudly point to a bright blue structure with the word "Biblioteca" painted in gold over the door. The school now had a library but still lacked books. In 2018, the Frankfurt Granada Association renovated the building, and today FBTB’s over 700 books and educational materials fill the shelves. Here kids study, do homework, play games, and color. Teachers run the library, and mothers keep it clean and inviting.
SOLIDARIDAD, Biblioteca Solidaridad
The neighborhood kids wait in line daily for the library door to open. With 125 books donated by her daughters, Indira Morales founded Biblioteca Solidaridad in 2014, following the FBTB model of collaborating with community leaders to create the right space. From the beginning, the village had a plan. An FBTB library would occupy the second floor of their new community center, and a preschool would meet on the first floor. Evening reading classes and vocational training would draw in parents. Now, with a thousand books and a plethora of educational materials, the library joyfully serves its community.
EL PANTANAL, Biblioteca José de la Cruz Mena
Located in the third classroom of José de la Cruz Mena School, the library serves the elementary students there as well as children from nearby schools. El Pantanal is a desperately poor community where many live in or around a city dump. The good news: a housing project is dramatically changing lives there. With increasing enrollment but limited classrooms, both the school and the library need to be flexible. Plans for a separate, permanent structure are currently on hold. Stay tuned!
EL FORTIN, Biblioteca Paraíso del Niño
Named by the children in 2009, this tiny lending library is a bustling center for local readers and future leaders. Many young patrons call it their "second home." Today pairs of shoes, small and large, greet you at the door. Inside children do homework and play games; adults learn to read; teachers plan lessons. "Biblioteca Paraíso del Niño has transformed the village, and now several kids are grown and studying at university," says Indira Morales, FBTB partner and project manager for a women's cooperative in nearby Granada.
Mulukukú, Biblioteca Samuel Vidaurre
FBTB founders learned the tragic story behind this library while volunteering for a medical mission in rural Nicaragua. During the Sandanista Contra War, Samuel, the son of a local farmer and the town’s only teacher, was executed―education was power, literacy his crime. After this tragedy, the library closed. Two decades later, FBTB reopened the library with 967 beautiful children’s books purchased in the capital city of Managua. Soon there were thousands of books. Now teachers and students have access to all the library’s resources in its new location, the Ricardo Morales Avilés elementary school.
SEACACAR, Biblioteca Río Sauce
"Without education we cannot save our home," says Juan, a village leader in isolated Seacacar. The local middle school now has textbooks for all students, extending opportunities to teens. Nearby Ak’ Tenamit, a high school accessible only by river, offers coursework in eco-tourism and sustainable business development. Environmentalists and eco-tourists are already visiting this majestic canyon, which generates jobs for the community. And, in the not-so-distant future, a solar-powered library will serve all thirteen villages of Q’eqchí Maya living in the Sauce River watershed.
MOMOSTENANGO, Bibioteca Kajib Noj
At the Instituto Privado Mixto Kajib’ No’j, a Mayan school for five- to sixteen-year-olds, everyone helps. Third graders sweep the patio with adult-sized brooms, and mothers prepare lunch. Now when teens take visitors on a school tour, they can include a library with books, games, and puzzles. Here teachers plan lessons and older students read some of the world’s great literature. "The books are motivating students to set and achieve goals and dreams for their lives," says Principal Pedro Euligio. "They know that learning is a privilege that will lead to better opportunities for themselves, their families, and their community."
RABINAL, Biblioteca Jun Toj
At Jun Toj elementary students dress in their traditional clothing. The boys’ shirts and girls’ huipiles are unique to Rabinal Mayans. This bicultural/bilingual school teaches academics and cultural traditions. After delivering Jun Toj’s first books, FBTB volunteers and their Austrian partners listened attentively to a first-grader read a well-known local legend in Achi, his home language. The only part we understood was his smile. With that first cache of books, teachers created reading corners in their classrooms. Today their dedicated library is always busy. An after-school program draws kids to the library, where they can do homework, play ping-pong, put puzzles together, or sing songs.
EL ESTOR, Biblioteca Aj Awinel
Located at Aj Awinel middle school, this library serves seventh- to ninth-graders and, on the weekends, local college students. In 2013, German, Spanish, and English speakers struggled to keep up with the young Q’eqchí-speaking teens while renovating this small structure. In the tropical heat and humidity, the students broke out the cement floor, hauled buckets of water, mixed bags of cement by hand, and enlarged the door and windows to create a place to read and study. Now with thousands of books, both fiction and non-fiction, the library offers students access to countless educational resources.
SANTO TOMAS LA UNION, Centro Educativo Austriaco Maxeño
A school library stocked with hundreds of books and classroom materials transformed teaching and learning at this indigenous school, founded over two decades ago by the Austrian Guatemalan Institute. Here FBTB partners with the Austrian founders and local Guatemalans to provide literature and texts, all purchased in Guatemala City, and aligned to the needs of this community. Now the school’s bilingual students enjoy reading literature in both K’iche’ and Spanish. Class sets of math, social studies, language arts, and science textbooks facilitate learning for kindergarten through sixth-grade students and provide the resources essential for their Mayan teachers.