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Jun 27, 2019

The Arts and Culture as Engines for Recovery

Puerto Rico's Ideas Box!
Puerto Rico's Ideas Box!

Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Puerto Rico experienced monumental devastation to life, property, livelihood, and cultural heritage. Once immediate disaster response efforts ended, communities were forced to grapple with the harsh realities of long-term recovery. As concerns about access to food, water and shelter subsided, residents increasingly worried about the impact that limited public services, namely the closure of 283 schools, would have on their daily lives. 


Last summer, your generosity gave Libraries Without Borders the opportunity to bring the Ideas Box to the island. With this dynamic tool, we were able to run a pilot program in two communities, Loíza and La Perla.


Building upon the success of that pilot, LWB launched “Empréndete: Loíza” earlier this year. This series of community-building events aimed to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and the creative arts. On May 25th, we officially kicked off the series with a two-day make-a-thon in Loíza, the first event of its kind to take place in Puerto Rico! The weekend ended with a competition to design the best prototype for promoting positive social change in Loíza. The winning team, Proyecto 187, will use photography as a means to diffuse violence in their community. By capturing images of daily life in Loíza, teens will have the opportunity to share their perspectives on the world. We plan to work with the creative minds behind this project to get it off the ground in the fall! 


Given the success of our pilot program, we’re turning our efforts towards transforming the Ideas Box into a multipurpose community center in Loíza. In this space, community members will have consistent access to programming and technology centered around the arts, culture, entrepreneurship, and STEM. With your continued support, we’ll be able to ensure that this program becomes a fixture of the community in Loíza. 


Jun 27, 2019

Building a Movement: Support LWB's Work in the US

Launch of Baltimore WALI
Launch of Baltimore WALI

Exciting Updates from Libraries Without Borders!

On behalf of Libraries Without Borders, thank you for your generous donations to our Building a Movement Campaign! We are grateful for your continued support of our work, and would like to share a few updates on our current programs, as well as exciting news about upcoming initiatives. 


The Wash and Learn Initiative: Expanding a National Movement 

At present, LWB is running the Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI) in laundromats in eight states across the country. Each WALI site features library programming and is equipped with iPads, computers, books, and arts and crafts materials. At every WALI site, both children and adults have the opportunity to learn new skills from experts in basic, digital, health, and legal literacy, among others topics. 

On June 10th, we launched Baltimore WALI at four laundromats across the city. Check out these videos from the launch to learn more about our work in Baltimore (link below). 

In the months to come, we’ll finalize details on our sites in San Antonio and Oakland, while simultaneously gearing up to launch two new sites in Anoka and Moorhead, Minnesota. 


The Ideas Box in Puerto Rico: Using the Arts and STEM to Build Local Capacity 

Following the success of last summer’s pilot program, LWB continues to provide educational and cultural programming with the Ideas Box.  

Through your donations, and with generous support from SONY, we have expanded our pilot in Loíza into a full-year program. This May, we also launched “Empréndete: Loíza,” a series of community-building events that kicked off with the first-ever make-a-thon to take place on the island of Puerto Rico. During this event, residents formed teams that developed their own solutions to local problems. This fall, we plan to provide these creative minds with seed funding to transform their ideas into reality.  


The Legal Literacy Initiative: Democratizing Access to Legal Information

In partnership with legal aid providers, local libraries, and nonprofits, we have curated, contextualized, and simplified legal resources to meet the needs of the communities we serve. With oversight from our Legal Literacy Advisory Board, we will continue to provide these communities with a steady stream of relevant and reliable legal information.  

To date, we have Legal Literacy programs in the Washington D.C. area and Providence. In the months to come, we will focus on building partnerships between law libraries and public libraries in order to familiarize branch librarians with legal issues that are common in the communities they serve. 


Increasing Rural Literacy Rates: Building on the Success of Wash and Learn  

Building upon the best practices gleaned from the Wash and Learn Initiative, we plan to launch a program that serves residents living in manufactured housing communities (aka “mobile homes”)  in rural areas across the country. The pilot will begin in Fridley, Minnesota, where we have partnered with a local library and a resident-owned, manufactured housing cooperative called the Park Plaza Co-Op. Through this pilot, we will set up iPads, laptops, arts and crafts materials, and a space where residents can participate in library programming inside the co-op’s storm shelter. By working with the library and other community-based organizations, this pilot will provide residents with opportunities to develop basic, digital, health and legal literacy skills. Stay tuned for more updates on this program! 


Apr 9, 2019

Exciting News for Puerto Rico!

Libraries Without Borders is excited to announce that we will be re-activating the Ideas Box program in Puerto Rico this summer!

After running a successful pilot in Loiza and La Perla, the Clinton Global Initiative highlighted our Ideas Box project at their Post-Disaster Recovery Action Network’s convening last January. Shortly thereafter, we received a generous donation from Sony to re-activate our Ideas Box program and expand our efforts to serve the community of Loiza.

This donation, coupled with the integral support of people like you, will ensure that we can provide children and youth in Loiza with leadership and STEM learning opportunities — from virtual reality to hands-on creative endeavors at our pop-up makerspace — as well as arts and culture programming. In the months to come, we will host a town hall in Loiza, during which community members will have the chance to tell us exactly what kind of activities and programming they want to see at the Ideas Box. We’ll also continue to work with our local partners to re-design the Ideas Box, transforming it into the first hurricane resistant, solar-powered pop-up library in the world!

Stay tuned for more updates on the Ideas Box program in Puerto Rico! 


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