Since opening Saber Sin Límites in February 2010, it would be an understatement to say that Chajul’s first public library has been wildly popular. With 507 members, demand had far surpassed the capacity of our one-room library, whose membership has grown by almost 40% in the last five months alone. With so many hungry minds to feed, it quickly became clear that we needed to expand. Thanks to support from Better World Books, Colorado Youth for Change, and generous individual donors like many of you, that dream has now become a reality.
After signing the lease of the new, centrally-located and well-lit building five times the size of our previous space, LHI worked with the owner to renovate the building and with a local carpenter to build additional furniture. Working alongside LHI scholarship students, youth group from experiential educational organization Where There Be Dragons used their creative minds and hands to paint furniture and a beautiful “Tree of Knowledge” mural in the new space during their July visit. To complete the transition, participants of the 2011 Summer Educator’s Trip rolled-up their sleeves to transfer the remaining inventory, paint a welcome mural, and debut the first Story Hour in the new venue. Our recently hired second librarian Teresa sure had her hands full with the record breaking 61 children in attendance!
LHI staff members are tremendously excited about the increased potential of Saber sin Límites to satisfy the desire for a safe, public space that encourages literacy, academic success, and community in the culturally rich Ixil region where roughly 70% of residents over 15 years old are illiterate. Based on the 24 library membership applications we’ve already received since opening the library two week ago, it seems the rest of Chajul is excited too!