This week the Leyendo group got together to sort through the boxes of books that have been donated, most of which are from Biblioteca Akumal which is downsizing to create a community center. We discovered that the reading level of our treasures was evenly split between primaria and secundaria (elementary and junior high school). So we went looking for one of each.
The KKIS Project, Keeping Kids in School, has been helping students in the Nicte Ha neighborhood of Playa del Carmen, Mexico for several years with bags of school supplies for every student in two elementary schools and one junior high. This neighborhood in the very north end of Playa was recommended by the local social service agency which stated that every child in these schools could use help. Leyendo decided to follow their lead and visited with the Directors of Adriana Cupul Itza primaria and Ko Oten Kaambal secundaria.
The space available at Adriana Cupul Itza elementary school is small and is currently being used for cleaning supplies and a few books, but is not open for student use. The director promised the space would be cleared for cleaning, painting and shelf building and would be open for both morning and afternoon session student and teacher use.
The secundaria, Ko Oten Kaambal, was a bit more ready. The school was built four years ago and included a huge library room (biblioteca) but no shelving or books. The director said they use the space for meetings and official functions but one third of the room nearest the door could be made into a real library. The long wooden cases pictured are filled with government student work books and would need to stay but could be moved aside.
After talking with our partner, Sultan Utm, from Library in a Week a Canadian non-profit organization, it was decided that we could do both. The secundaria space does not need paint, just some bright shelving and lots of books and the primaria has a parent association which will help Sultan with cleaning, painting and construction. Hopefully this will all begin about February 4 or 5 and both libraries will be done in a week. Leyendo plans to follow up with both schools bringing more books as they arrive, arranging events to encourage students to make full use of the libraries and enlisting students and parents to become the librarians.
Donations of Spanish language books for children and very beginning English books are always needed and gladly accepted. All of us at Leyendo love to read and want to share this wonderful experience with the children of Playa del Carmen.