Biblio.com Completes Bolivian Library Project

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Biblio.com, the nationÂ?s third largest on-line marketplace for buying and selling used, rare and out-of-print books, has announced the completion of a humanitarian project in Bolivia that will help expand literacy into one of that nationÂ?s most underdeveloped regions.

In a partnership with local government officials and service organizations, Biblio.com has helped fund a new library for the residents of Morado K’asa, a mountain community 80 kilometers from Sucre, the capital of Bolivia. Despite a population of more than 3,000, and the presence of a local school, neither the people of Morado K’asa, nor its neighbors in eight other outlying areas have ever had access to a library.

Biblio.com founder and president Brendan Sherar made the decision to get involved in the project at the request of his sister, Megan, who was doing Peace Corps service in the region in 2003. Between Biblio and the private contributions of board members and staff, the company financed the bulk of the project and is raising about forty percent of the funds from Biblio’s independent booksellers to help finance the acquisition of materials and supplies.

After a couple of months of planning and negotiation with an architect and contractors in Bolivia, the groups arranged to construct and furnish a 650-square-foot native brick library, complete with about 900-1,000 books in Spanish, tables and chairs, electricity, and supplies. Biblio.com still is seeking donations of Spanish-language books for the facility.

“This is such a wonderful chance to make a difference in the community that we wanted to make this a joint project between Biblio and all of our bookselling partners,” Sherar said. “We believe that it affords a wonderful cooperative venture in which we can show customers the depth of our mutual commitment to community education and literacy.”

Morado K’asa is an indigenous Quechua community located in southwestern Bolivia, several hours outside of the capital city of Sucre (when traveling by flota - a bus commonly used for travel). Over 200 families live in Morado K’asa, and within the community is a primary school. A regional high school is located three miles away in Cororo for seven other outlying communities, comprising a population of more than 3,000 people. Despite the presence of these two schools, there is no access to books for either the children or adults of these communities. The children learn to read in schools by trying to memorize words written on the chalkboard by the teacher. Most children leave for the city when they become teenagers to find work in manual labor and service.

“You could characterize the community as subsistence level only,” Sherar said.

Construction on the library was completed in early February; however locals still are working to bring books and other furnishings into the facility.

For more information on how you can donate cash or books, contact Biblio.com by e-mail at labiblioteca@biblio.com or you learn more from their website, http://www.biblio.com.

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Kevin Donaldson
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