Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Oaxaca Lending Library


Photo via librosparapueblos.com


Oaxaca has had an English language library for almost 50 years. The Oaxaca Lending Library runs special lectures and trips, language classes in Spanish and Zapotec for English speakers and programs for children and teenagers of Oaxaca who speak Spanish or indigenous languages. They also host duplicate bridge games on Tuesday afternoons which is how I came across them in the first place.

Their website is very informative as to their activities. Their hearts seem to be in the right place, and if some of what I read made me a little wary, it may have been that I was projecting my own experiences moving among expats in Italy onto this community. As someone who tends to read things very hypercritically, I probably just need to back off making any judgments for the time being.

Anyway, I'm especially intrigued by their program, Libros Para Pueblos, an outreach effort that seeks to help communities start and run libraries, and would like to learn more about it. Who ultimately decides where and when to open these libraries? Who runs them and what kind of support is provided? What kinds of books are purchased and who chooses them? Are all relevant languages represented? If anyone reading this has any info, leave a comment or email me.

In the meantime, for the casual visitor, the OLL has monthly memberships for 130 pesos, about $11. Even if you won't have time to do much leisure reading while in Oaxaca, it could be a good place to meet locals and get a feel for the expat experience there.

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