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In the February issue of MEDIA MATTERS, the newsletter of the Texas
Assoc. of School Librarians, there is a very moving plea for books and funds
for the municipal library of Panajachel, Guatemala.  Ann Cameron, author
and librarian, tells of a library which has been closed for most of the
last ten years due to lack of funds.  There are rare histories of the
Spanish Conquest and the colonial period as well as many books that  were
useless or damaged because of  dust and neglect.  She tells  of children
trying to look up information in world almanacs that  were  fifteen years
out of date.  With  some help from a variety of sources, the city council
has begun to make some necessary changes. Guatemala has a 60% illiteracy
rate.  Books are expensive and therefore not often available.  The following
is an excerpt from her letter.
"What we need now are more books in Spanish--more for young children, and
more for third graders and up.  We are adding books for adults, too: high
school students from other towns and students in university extension courses
are now coming to the Panajachel library to do research, and we would
like to serve them better."
The municipality can pay only $70 per month toward the library's operating
cost and the newly formed Friends group contributes $130 a month in salaries
to keep the library open eight hours a day and to pay for daily cleaning.
If you would like to donate money, make your check payable to "Amigos de la
Biblioteca, Panajachel" and mail it to Ann Cameron, Panajachel, Solola,
Guatemala.  They would also like to receive new or used (but in good
condition) books in Spanish.  To avoid overseas postage she advises sending
them through the American Embassy in Guatemala City at this address:
      Kimberly King, cultural Attache
      Guatemala, USIS
      Unit 3318
      APO AA 34024
You will need to include a note to Ms. King explaining that the package is
intended  for  the Biblioteca Popular of Panajachel.

I am hoping to involve some of my students in a fund-raising effort for this
cause and thought that some of you terrific people of LM_NET may like to do
the same.

Cheryl Bybee   (cbybee@tenet.edu)

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