ALA 2012

Catch a Falling Star and Put It in Your Pocket: Pocket Libraries in Rural Ethiopia, a Collaboration Between the United States Board on Books for Young People and the Segenat Foundation
Janet Lee, Regis University, Denver, CO ( 2012

Following a very successful workshop on the production of cloth books in the local language conducted by Anne Pellowski, United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY), at the Segenat Children and Youth Library in Mekelle, Ethiopia, the Segenat Foundation has joined with USBBY to produce cloth Pocket Libraries that have been distributed to rural areas of Ethiopia. With a literacy rate of 42.7% (50.3% male; 35.1% female), it is imperative that books written in local languages are introduced as widely as possible to pre-school and elementary school-aged children. What better method than a cloth Pocket Library, each colorful pocket filled with books written in the local language of the children? Representatives of both USBBY and the Segenat Foundation will be available for demonstration of both the cloth books and the Pocket Libraries.

ALA 2011

Sharing Our Strengths: Exploring and Expanding the Impact of Successful Models of International Sustainable Library Programs
Jane Mirandette, San Juan del Sur Biblioteca Publica y Movil, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and the Hester J. Hodgdon “Libraries for All Program” (

Bill Cartwright, The Riecken Foundation ( 2011

This poster will explore the similarities and differences among a variety of successful models of sustainable library projects at work in Central America. The Hester J. Hodgdon “Libraries for All” Program, San Juan del Sur Biblioteca Pubica y Movil, The Riecken Foundation in Honduras and Guatemala, and the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas all provide library programs in Central America and collaborate in various ways. Recent collaboration among these groups has expanded the impact of each of them and provides models useful to other groups initiating similar programs. Offering successful lending systems, sharing methods of training and using volunteers, providing mentoring, discussing policies and challenges, pooling resources, and sharing by offering introductions to funding organizations are all areas that have impacted these groups. These will be shown with special attention to the areas of sustainability as the prevailing model. There is an increasing request for information and training by groups initiating library projects in Central America. This poster will focus on two such groups and how their projects are benefiting from the expertise being shared with them. Handouts from each organization and the definition of sustainability as applied by these models will be provided.

ALA 2010

Cultivating Literacy PosterCultivating Literacy: How to Be the Gardener of a Grassroots Lending Library Project
Jessica Haglund, Hannah Miller, and Jane Mirandette, Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All Program, Loveland, CO

Established in 2003, the Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All Program has developed and supported sustainable lending library and literacy projects in Central and South America. Having created and maintained successful rural lending library initiatives in Latin American developing countries, the Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All Program has become a model for other global lending library initiatives. The poster describes the steps and process for library and/or literacy projects interested in developing their own grassroots project, from partnering with local schools and educators to cultivating reading and information resources appropriate for the intended audience. Challenges include a lack of indigenous publishing and books about a country’s own culture and experiences. Some successful projects that are highlighted are lending libraries Tipitapa, Ometepe, and Granada (all located in Nicaragua) and Libros Para Niños, a Nicaraguan foundation established in 1993 to promote reading and literacy among Nicaraguan children. Libros Para Niños publishes books of Nicaraguan children’s stories and then donates copies to Nicaraguan lending libraries. The poster features colorful photographs of volunteers participating in these library projects.


ALA 2009

Volunteer Tourism: How Study Abroad and Service Learning Programs Transfer Skills and Help Sustain Grassroots Lending Libraries in Central America 2009
Jane Mirandette, Hester J Hodgdon Libraries for All Program, Loveland, CO (janem101 at
Hannah Miller, Hester J Hodgdon Libraries For All Program, Washington, DC (hannah.miller27 at
One aspect to sustaining a grassroots library is skills transfer; the professional development of staff. How to keep staff abreast of new library developments when electricity and technology are scarce? The Hester J Hodgdon’s Libraries for All Program has established skill transfer connections in the form of volunteer tourism. What makes volunteer tourism so compatible with skill transfer is that it becomes the arena for problem solving in its most genuine form. We will show how long term programs with Simmons College and the study abroad course held with the University of Maryland, bring library and information science students, eager for experience and willing to share their knowledge together with the San Juan del Sur Nicaragua’s library staff. Site visits to mobile library projects, lending library programs and workshops with the Nicaraguan Library Association foster an important “Inter-cambio” or exchange of skills and ideas. Students learn what is like to create and run libraries with little or no resources and to share valuable training with staff. The influx of resources for the libraries and support for the community brought by these programs are other aspects of sustainability that will be explored. Information will be offered on developing applications and curriculum as a model for library science graduate programs and other developing nations’ library programs as well.

Presentation at ALA 2009: Skill Share Programs: Sustaining Grassroots Libraries in Developing Nicaragua

ALA 2008

Central American Lending Libraries Are a Growing Reality – Collaboration Is the Key 2008
Jane Mirandette, The Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries For ALL Program, Loveland, CO (janem101 at
John Furlong, Brentwood Public Library, Brentwood, MO (jtfurlong at
Athena Michael, MLIS, John Wiley & Sons , Inc., Winchester, VA (amichael at

Beginning with its roots as supporter of the first public lending library in Nicaragua in 2001, the Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries For All program has become a potent catalyst for the development of lending library and mobile lending library services in Central America. With its outreach emphasis on collaboration and sustainable leadership, HJH has provided access to information, seed collections of books, training programs and a simple model for sustainable lending. This poster will explore the reasons behind the burgeoning number of lending libraries. In 2001, there were none. Today, January 31, 2008, there are twenty three. There are ten started by faith based or service oriented NGO’s; three by Americans living abroad in Costa Rica and Nicaragua; three initiated by Peace Corp Volunteers in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua; and five school or community libraries started by church mission groups. The most exciting are two libraries started by Nicaraguan community members which are striving to be independently self supporting. These groups are currently requesting leadership training, professional development, access to technology and increased collaboration as they grow and expand. This poster will discuss methods to answer those needs as outlined by Andy Hargeaves and Dean Fink, authors of sustainable leadership. The HJH Program together with the Nicaraguan Library Association (ANIBIPA) brought the ALA/IFLA worldwide campaign, En Tu Biblioteca, to Nicaragua in 2005 and continues to work with the forty five governmental based non-lending libraries that joined the campaign. Together with ANIBIPA, The Simmons Library and Information Science Graduate School Volunteer Program, the HJH Program hosts a series of workshops and leadership events that are held annually for librarians in Central America. Handouts will be provided for those interested in this Volunteer Sustainable Leadership Project and the HJH Library In a Box Projects.

ALA 2007

Technology RuralBridging the Communication Abyss in Rural Nicaragua: The San Juan del Sur Biblioteca Movil as an Information Conduit 2007
Jane Mirandette, Director, San Juan del Sur Biblioteca Publica y Movil, San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua (
David Dwiggins, Dean’s Fellow for Technology Support, & Co-chair (SIR) Simmons International Relations, Boston, MA (

The San Juan del Sur Biblioteca, Nicaraguan’s first lending library, is developing protocols and procedures to implement information and communication technology (ICT) programming in San Juan del Sur and the 27 rural communities currently served by its mobile project. Most of these communities lack newspaper delivery, landline phone service, Internet and often electricity. Communication tends to happen by word of mouth or other makeshift means. The library sees technology as a way to increase the accessibility of information to residents of these isolated areas. The poster describes early challenges and successes encountered introducing ICT programming to library patrons, and outlines plans with regard to solar and battery power, telecommunications, instruction, and other aspects. Photos and video showcasing programs targeted at children and young adults are included. The presentation highlights key decision-points for this type of project, including cost/benefit analysis, hardware and software considerations, power issues, telecommunications infrastructure, and educational needs. It also considers appropriate evaluation methodologies and explores collaborative solutions. Handouts include a list of these key decision points, highlighting the unique considerations for ICT implementation in developing countries.