06 Sep
  • By Theresa DeSouza
  • Cause in

UPAVIM Library Supporting Community Literacy

Viviana and her youngest son, Julian, visiting after school.

Viviana always loved reading as a child, even though they had no books at home. Growing up, there was one small library close to her house. She went there to look at the books, but because the library was so small (only about 100 books) they were not available for check out.

In addition to doing some sewing work, Viviana works as the librarian at UPAVIM (which stands for Unidas Para Vivir Mejor — United For A Better Life). The library, opened in 2009, currently serves all the classes at the UPAVIM school. Of the 4,000 books on hand, 2,500 are available for check out. The library is also open to the community.

One half of the library.


The UPAVIM library is a valuable and enriching resource for the community. In the month of July 395 people visited the library; 19 people borrowed books. From the community, the most popular type of book borrowed are young adult books.

UPAVIM Library. A community resource.

The nearest other library is in zone 1, the national library. Although the national library operates a book mobile it only goes out into the countryside.

Despite the constant undercurrent of poverty and gang activity the UPAVIM library continues to operate, offering a healthy escape, information, and resources.  Adults in the community can borrow books for five days, children three days (not counting Saturdays and Sundays), at which point they can renew as many times as they want. The point being to have them actually read the books.