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Librarians Without Borders

Call for Volunteers: Librarians Without Borders (LWB) Guatemala 2018 Service Trip

December 21, 2017

Librarians Without Borders (LWB) invites members of the library community to volunteer for its 2018 Service Trip to Guatemala. Activities will include collection management (taking an inventory of the collection and cataloguing, processing, and adding new items), library programming for students, and training for teachers.

Visit the LWB website for stories from the 2017 Guatemala Service Trip Team.

Call for Volunteers: Guatemala 2018 Service Trip

This is the ninth consecutive spring that Librarians Without Borders (LWB) is traveling to the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Since 2010 over 130 librarians and library science students have spent more than 45 working days onsite to help our partner realize and grow their dream of an open stacks, circulating school library. What started as cinder blocks in 2010 is now the vibrant center of the school.

LWB uses this annual service trip to execute our remote work on the ground, to discuss emerging needs with our partner, and to re-connect with students and school staff. We invite you to work alongside us this year from April 20 to April 29, 2018.

This year’s work at the Academy will include collection management activities (taking an inventory of the collection and cataloguing, processing, and adding new items), library programming for students, and training for teachers. LWB works with Asturias to also provide edutourism activities for trip participants that will help nurture a comprehensive understanding of libraries, education, and culture in Guatemala. Typically, trip participants are also given the opportunity to help finalize the last weekend activity (for example, visit scenic Lake Atitlán or historic Antigua).

Primary Projects

  • Cataloging, processing, and adding new items to the library’s collection
  • Taking an inventory of the collection
  • Library programming targeting primary school students through multi-day library events
  • Professional development workshops for teachers supporting library integration into the curriculum

Housing and Food
While in Quetzaltenango (Xela), participants will stay and eat most of their meals at the COFA Catholic Retreat Centre. All dinners (9) plus all meals on the last weekend will be eaten at local restaurants and will be the responsibility of volunteers. Vegetarian options will be available but are limited.

All trip volunteers are expected to:

  • Attend online meetings (3-4) to discuss projects and receive training on the Asturias Library and local culture. These meetings are mandatory for all volunteers.
  • Join and contribute to a working team before the trip.
  • Plan activities and prepare materials before the trip.
  • Participate in post-trip assessments (e.g. evaluation surveys).

Program Fees
The program fee is $1200 CAD* (= ~$933 USD) for 10 days. This total covers lodging in Xela (7 nights), all breakfasts and lunches in Xela, transportation, and entrance to all activities within Guatemala, as well as a fundraising fee to support LWB’s Guatemalan programs. Trip participants are responsible for paying their own airfare to and from Guatemala, for lodging fees on the first and last day (April 20 and 29), shuttle ride to the airport on the last day, and for all dinners (9 days).

There is a $500 CAD non-refundable deposit due by all accepted applicants by February 9. The remainder of the fees ($700 CAD) can be paid at the same time or by February 23*.

In addition, all trip participants are expected to bring extra spending money for additional purchases such as souvenirs and snacks, dinners, airport shuttle, and lodging on the weekends ($250-$300 CAD is adequate).

Note, in previous years some participants have created crowdfunding campaigns to wholly or partially offset the costs of the trip. LWB uses our social media channels to promote those campaigns for participants.

Important Dates

  • Guatemala Information Meeting (online) – January 7
  • Application Deadline – January 26
  • Successful applicants selected and notified – February 6
  • $500 CAD* non-refundable deposit due – February 16
  • $700 CAD* remainder of program fees – March 2

*Note: The $1200 CAD may be revised to a new final figure if a significant change in exchange rate occurs. Should this happen, the information would be published by February 16.

How to apply:  Download the Volunteer Application Questions & Instructions, review, and submit your completed volunteer application using our online form. For questions, please contact us at

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