Author: Karen Fern

Donation of Books for Tarabuco Library

  Tarabuco Librarian, Jhovana, signing for new books delivered by BiblioWorks Project Co-ordinator, Jhovana. At last, a photo of the new books being delivered to the Tarabuco Library. Most of them are children’s picture books but there are also some for the older children. As you can see many of the titles are in Spanish but have distinctly European themes. Cinderella, Snow White, and other translations of European fairy tales. It is possible to purchase some children’s reading material published in Bolivia but there is not a great deal available. The library does already have some Bolivian children’s books such as the Libros Infantiles Bolivia series (Kids Books Bolivia) and a few other titles but the libraries and book stores I saw were dominated by non-South American material. Even so, the new books for Tarabuco are bright and colourful and are attractive for the children to read and it’s great to see the modern looking title in the top right of the photo which I’m sure will appeal to the boys in particular. I had …

Thank You

Today is the date I thought I would be leaving Bolivia after 3 months of volunteer work. As it eventuated I spent 4 weeks in Bolivia and then returned to New Zealand as my partner was unwell and I wanted to be in New Zealand with him while he had treatment. So, I have been back in New Zealand for 6 weeks now. It was my intention when I returned to New Zealand to put more of my time into BiblioWorks but it is only now that I find I have time to do this. With funds raised through the Books for Bolivia Give-a-Little page I have made a donation to BiblioWorks that I have asked to be spent specifically on books for the Tarabuco Library. BiblioWorks agreed to this and will send information about the books purchased once they arrive in Sucre. I would like to say a huge Thank You to all those people who supported me in my time volunteering for BiblioWorks. I do feel some disappointment at not being able to …

Change of plans

I’m sure this blog post is going to come as a big surprise to my blog followers as it has been to  me. Due to news of major health problems with family in New Zealand, I am on my way back to New Zealand. The news was not entirely unexpected but still came as a big shock. So I’ve spent the last week leaving Tarabuco and making plans to get home. I’m still very pleased I came to Bolivia and although I’ve only been here for 4 weeks I feel as if I have had so many experiences in that time. I had such short time in Tarabuco but still managed to implement changes to the library there. In discussion with Biblioworks I hope to continue to contribute to their organization once I am back in New Zealand. I intend to write a report for Biblioworks with recommendations for improvements at the Tarabuco Library. There is also the opportunity to write some sort of training documents for library staff. I also intend to make a …

Small Changes

It’s surprising how small changes can have quite a big impact. The first thing I noticed when I came to the Tarabuco Library was that the children did not appear to be reading books very much at all. It was obvious to me that the books that were there were not readily available for the children to browse or even to reach them on the shelves. There was a small collection of books for recreational reading amongst the hundreds of “school” or textbooks that were on the shelves. These school books which the older students who come into the library after school use in the library for their homework are sorted in categories such as science, religion, health etc. Then on the bottom shelf in no particular order was a collection of children’s picture books and a few other reading books for older children. And most of these shelves were behind the librarian’s desk. The children are expected to ask the librarian for the book they want and they are not able to browse the …

Tarabuco Biblioteca

My first introduction to the Tarabuco Library was last Monday. First impressions are of the colourful entrance seen in the photo above. Unfortunately this is the Casa Cultura not the library. The library is hidden down the pathway to the left of the Casa Cultura, past the public toilets with their drums of water on the path outside. The library is a much smaller building, probably only 6m x 4m inside. My first thoughts were it was a nice small space for a small library. But as I spent more time there I found that it is much too small a space for the number of children using it. I have been going to the library from 2pm to 5 or 6pm each week day. The younger primary school age children start arriving when school finishes about 2.30pm and the older secondary school age children about 3.30 – 4pm. The children come in ones and twos and at first there’s time to talk and start an activity. But soon there’s 25 to 30 children sharing …

Sucre

Sucre – city of hills and churches. Wonderful city, full of history, beautiful architecture, and friendly people. Sucre has been a lovely place to stop for a few days and draw breath. Although I haven’t been sitting around the whole time. After arriving at 9am on Friday I got a taxi to the hostal. Lovely hostal but I was somewhat disconcerted to find my room was on the first floor and I had two 20kg suitcases to lug up the stairs. That certainly made me puff. The altitude here in Sucre hasn’t affected me much but the dry air certainly has. Once I worked out that the dry air plays hell with your sinuses then I was able to do something about it. I was pleased to have flown in so early in the morning as every day since I’ve been here there has been huge lightning and thunder storms in the late afternoon that last for 4 or 5 hours or more. A few heavy downpours of rain but mostly just really loud thunder …