We’ve had the library in Pantanal open to the public for several weeks now. The idea was to give the community the chance to get used to having a library in the community before we made it possible for them to borrow books.
This past two weeks we have held parent meetings to talk about why children should read more, how a library is organized and how they can have memberships in the library and borrow books.
We had eight mothers and lots of children to the first meeting and it went very well. Coni and Marisela both read books to the groups. At one point Coni asked the children if any of them knew what they would like to be when they grew up. Cecia, the librarian Marisela’s daughter, immediately put up her hand and said ‘librarian’!! We couldn’t have asked for more!!!
I had also baked cookies to go with the juice at the end of the meeting and happened to mention I used a book for the recipe. One mother came up to us afterwards and asked if we had recipe books as she wanted to learn to cook more things. Marisela showed where there might be some but I also bought one for the library at the supermarket the next day. I was thrilled with the request.
This week’s meeting had a better attendance with possibly a dozen women – it was hard to count with so many children there and moving about. The meeting was, from my perspective, less effective than the first one. The two books that were read were both too long and as Cecia, the nine year old, had asked to read a book she really liked, My Friend Doesn’t Like to Read, they didn’t catch the attention of the group the same way the books the week before had. I should have had both readers stop in the middle of the stories and invite the children to borrow the books if they wanted to know how they ended.
However all the women took home the registration cards to fill out and bring back to become members. Marisela will verify their identification and then issue them with their very own library cards and numbers.
Pantanal seems like a very fertile community for a lending library as there are many children and schools in the area.