BiblioWorks - Changing lives through libraries, literacy and a love of reading
BiblioWorks is seeking a volunteer to work in its Sucre, Bolivia, office as Volunteer Coordinator and Communications Director. This is a fantastic opportunity for someone...
Not-for-profit NGO BiblioWorks is looking for enthusiastic and passionate people who would like to work as Literacy Ambassadors at its libraries, running reading clubs as...
BiblioWorks is an organisation which not only brings reading and literacy to children in rural communities, but we also aim to empower local women by helping them to develop...
A real "life experience"
Submitted by Ipek Sahinler - University of Edinburgh | September 18, 2016
As the title indicates, it was not only a volunteer experience to be put into a CV, but rather a mind-opening, refreshing life experience that I have had thanks to Biblioworks.
Before I went to Bolivia, I was looking for a flexible, yet favourable programme in which I could transmit some inspiration and good quality education that the disadvantaged kids needed. The belief of mine towards books was as strong as my former idea. When these two realms came together in my mind, I ended up with Biblioworks both in my "search results" and in my life. The library that I worked in was situated in an isolated and socio-economically disadvantaged area of Sucre. I basically went there in the days that we have defined with children (mon, tues, wed, friday) and did reading all together with them. Again, the children were choosing the books that they wanted us to read. After reading, we used to either draw or write stories. In the last one hour, we used to play fun and relaxing games. This was the way I did it, but of course you can plan your own timetable. As I said, the flexibility that Biblioworks gives to a volunteer is priceless. But be ready to work in a library which doesn't have a toilet or in a town in which children do not have dreams. Try to create them both. It is worth it! Good luck :)
An incredible experience
Submitted by Megan Graff | April 28, 2016
I volunteered with BiblioWorks for 8 months as the both the Volunteer Coordinator and the Communications Director.
I am a teacher-librarian and I was able to use my knowledge, skills and love of books as well as gain a wide-range of new knowledge and skills while having incredible experiences and giving my problem-solving skills a workout. I was based in the office in Sucre but traveled to the rural libraries, initially with the library trainers and later independently.
My Spanish was rusty when I arrived but quickly came back to me as all of the office and library staff are Bolivian and speak little to no English. The BiblioWorks staff are very professional and committed to their work. They work collaboratively and I felt privileged to be a part of the team.
My final month of volunteering was April 2016 and it finished with two of BiblioWorks biggest yearly events - “Sucre Lee” (Sucre Reads) and “La Feria de la Lectura” (The Reading Festival). The lead up to these events gave me a chance to experience the highs (and lows) of fundraising first hand as well as take part in press conferences and live radio interviews (in Spanish!).
I will treasure the memories I have made during my time in BiblioWorks and put my newfound skills and knowledge to use in my future work.
I highly recommend volunteering with BiblioWorks if you have a love of books and reading, a reasonable level of Spanish, an open-mind, and a sense of humour!
If you're looking for community immersion, then BiblioWorks is your project
Submitted by Steph Dyson - Radstock | October 27, 2015
I volunteered for seven months as BiblioWorks' Communications and Volunteer Director, based in the beautiful white city of Sucre. This is definitely not a volunteering programme like many of the others, where you are surrounded by other volunteers and following a set routine or project. The best thing about BiblioWorks is that the very nature of the work that they do - supporting development in rural communities - means that volunteers are required to work with local people, speak Spanish and generally embrace Bolivia and its people.
My role was office based but I had so much freedom to support the work of the staff (all of whom were Bolivian - another plus point as far as I'm concerned) and implement my own ideas as they were keen to listen and to use the ideas and expertise that volunteers can bring. Sucre in itself is a wonderful place to spend time as it has the right balance between gringo-city and local people; you're guaranteed to make friends from both ends of this spectrum. Spanish lessons are also incredibly cheap: I started with little-to-no Spanish and the experience of lessons and having to use my Spanish on a daily basis to communicate with my colleagues worked wonders with my pitiful groundings in the language!
I also spent a few weeks working as one of the Literacy Ambassadors in the school library in Maragua, set in the stunning Maragua Crater around four hours from Sucre. This was one of my favourite experiences throughout my seven months, but would have been very difficult if I hadn't spoken intermediate Spanish by that point. Living and working in this incredible location (the mountains lining the horizon and which blend into the strongest blue sky that you will ever see was an image that never got old) was an experience that I will certainly never forget and such a powerful opportunity to see Bolivia and rural life first-hand.
All in all, strongly recommended, but only for those with an adventurous spirit and decent Spanish!
A lovely month working for a fantastic organization
Submitted by Michael and Kiri - Seattle | March 03, 2015
We worked with Biblioworks to open a library in Villa Abecia, Chuquisaca, Bolivia. It was a great experience, and we love the organization. The libraries make a huge difference in the communities, and the children's enthusiasm is beautiful. We were only there for a month because of visa troubles (Americans, get your visa in advance!!), and carnaval prevented us from working for a decent section of that time. The homestay they arranged for us was outstanding - I think our host/landlord (it was a private apartment connected to her house) will be a friend of ours for life.
They give you a ton of latitude to do your own thing and decide what kinds of programs to run, but they also supply you with a lot of materials and ideas to get you going. Highly recommended!