IBBY-Yamada 2021: Dominican Republic

IBBY Dominican Republic: Development of a children’s library in the rural community of Hatillo.

Hatillo is a low-income rural community outside of San Cristóbel with high rates of delinquency, drug abuse and violence. There are no public libraries, and the school libraries are small and often crowded. During the pandemic, one of the schools, Hojas Anchas Primary School, began offering books to take home along with the state-sponsored food rations. This simple action led to reading habits that spread within the families and there was significant interest from other librarians of Hatillo’s public school system to start similar programs. For this, they required more books and better training. The activities included workshops for the librarians, refurbishment of library spaces and restocking of books. For the children, workshops were divided into monthly themes for readings and for arts and crafts activities. After organisation meetings in February 2021 to determine the needs of each library, the training phase for librarians, in person (8 hours) and on Zoom (six hours), began in May. Donations of books and library materials were made by Carry a Book in a Suitcase Foundation. The library activities began thereafter and through a group WhatsApp chat, the librarians were able to share their experience and advice.

Read a summary project report here.