New Biblioteca Casa De Los Suenos In San Juan Cosala Opens
By Kathy Koches
The grand opening of the children’s library, Biblioteca Casa de Los Suenos in San Juan Cosala was held on July 30th at 5pm. The library is a dream come true for the children of this small village, and also for the founder, Ken Lienemann. He purchased the building and financed the remodeling, including water, sewer and electrical upgrades. He also provided hundreds of books, 95% of which are in Spanish. The shelves contain books suitable for beginning readers and picture books for the younger children. For children ages 6-12, in addition to fiction and some of the classics, there are books about science, biology, animals, weather, oceans, chemistry and the arts. There is also a small collection of children’s books in English.
The new library also contains a “reading friendly” area where children can sit on bean bag chairs, carpet or stools to read, play games and use the magnetic white board for games with numbers and letters. There is also a special chair, designated as the “Storyteller’s Chair” where a reader will hold a story hour for children once a week. This chair belonged to the abuela of the house, and has a plaque with her name, to insure her spirit will remain in the new library.
Over 150 kids have already visited the library, in groups of 25. Teachers are asking if they can use the library as a resource center to teach classes. The children who have visited immediately grabbed books off the shelves and plopped down on the floor. One little girl was reading a book on the human anatomy-every time you turn a page it peels back another layer: skin, muscles, nerves, circulation, organs, bones. Yes, it was presented at a very accessible level but still, SCIENCE?!? One of the older kids was looking at a biography, one girl was reading a book about ballet. Kids grabbed the magnetic numbers and were doing math on the magnetic white board. It was really magic. What will happen when they begin the story reading hours!
The librarians are Blanca Vasquez and Lupe Flores Cornejo. They are assisted by a cadre of local women who have been trained to be volunteers who know how to work with children and encourage them to think and ask questions.
When he decided to begin this project, Ken’s priority was to make it a village library, that the people will take ownership of, take pride in, and use. “I’m doing it because I want every child in this village to have access to books, to experience the joy of reading. To learn to read, to do better in school, to have dreams that are bigger than the village. That is our value.”
Lupe Flores Cornejo