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Letter to supporters

June 6, 2011

Date: April 24, 2011

Dear Supporters of the Bookmobile to Cuba Project:

We want to share with you some impressions of our most recent visit to observe the Bookmobile in action in Granma Province, Cuba (see link below).  We arrived in Bayamo in January 2011 to spend time with the Bookmobile librarians and the many patrons of the Bookmobile.  We traveled with the library staff on the Bookmobile for nearly a week.  We visited 14 sites on the Bookmobile’s many routes during the school year.  We also met hundreds of patrons of the bookmobile in the several towns along its routes.  We met with teachers and librarians in their classroom and in the school libraries.  We also enjoyed numerous school childrens’ plays, songs, dance performances and delighted in their presentations on the books that they had read and liked.  Each one of them shared the moral of their story, or  — el “entendimiento que tuve con el libro,” i.e. the understanding I got from the book.

It was a great pleasure seeing the children’s excitement when the visiting Bookmobile arrived at their town or school.  The children ran to the bus, and shouted at their friends that the Bookmobile was there.  At times we encountered an entire school yard filled with animated students in lively discussions about the new books they found.

We were surprised to learn that there was a need for more children’s books.  Not only were the books showing high use, they were in extremely high demand, and at nearly every stop, the children’s books were ¾ checked out.  To assist us in refilling the children’s books on the Bookmobile shevels, we received a generous grant from the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.  We will use the grant and money from other donors (like you!) to supplement and help replenish the children’s book collection on the Bookmobile shelves.

If you would like to learn more about our trip, we wrote and presented a slide show (powerpoint) with a summary of the trip’s findings.  We presented this slideshow as part of a panel on Cuban culture at the City University of New York’s Bildner Center conference, titled “Cuba Futures:  Past and Present,” on April 2, 2011.   The powerpoint includes new photos and commentary about our visits to the schools where we recorded many students’ presentations on the books they read and enjoyed or learned from.

The most up-to-date information about our continuing support of the Bookmobile to Cuba Project has been placed on our Bookmobile to Cuba Blog at https://bookmobile.wordpress.com.

To conclude, we would like to mention our most recent project, the Young Adult Book Project (http://yacubaproject.wordpress.com/), for the Ruben Martinez Villena Provincial Library, located in Old Havana.  Together with the children’s librarian at that Library, we selected award-winning and recognized young adult books for the Library, helping fulfill the reading needs of young adults in Old Havana.  We will send these titles to the Old Havana Provincial Library, this summer through the 22nd annual Pastors for Peace Caravan.

We continue to collect donations and Spanish-language books from progressives, librarians, and xxx .  If you would like to support this project, we have a “wish list” of library materials listed in aLibris.com for future shipments to the Bookmobile, or send cash or books to our address.

With warm regards,

Dana Lubow, Librarian

Rhonda L. Neugebauer, Librarian

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