The Library Oasis

We were at the school today compiling the list for our lunch sponsor program for 2013. Kendy (the English teacher) and I went around to each teacher, grades 0-9, asking for their observations of which of their students were in the most need for lunch at school. We received each teachers top 3-4 names and then I took a picture of each one. That way we can send pictures to those who sponsor a student for lunch.

While I was working on the lunch program, Jeanne was hauling the last of the boxes of books from the front gate of the school to the library. A friend helped us by packing the boxes in his Rhino and bringing them from his shed and our shed to the school. Once school was out, Jeanne and I started taking all the books out of the boxes, sorting them and placing them on the shelves in their given categories. It is much easier to work in the little library without a multitude of bodies, plus we didn’t want to interrupt the class.

Me standing in the library

Me standing in the library

As we were busily organizing this nearly full  library, I heard the door creak open. I looked up and there stood a little boy half way squeezed in the door. I said “hola” and kept about my task. After several minutes, he was still there wedged between the door and the wall, watching our every move. When I looked up again, he was fully in the library and the door shut behind him. He slowly made his way around the library, peering up at all the books on the shelves. He really took his time looking at each shelf.

As he made his way back to the door, I approached him and asked in poor grammatical español, “te gusteria leer”? He nodded yes, so then I asked him, “entiendo ingles”? He shook his head no. I grabbed a book from the Spanish section on the planets in our solar system and handed it to him. His eyes lit up and he quietly slipped into a nearby table-desk. He sat there looking at every picture slowly and looked through the entire book.

little boy reading in the first ever library in his school

Jeanne is sorting books on the shelves and notice Joel sitting at the table-desk

In that moment, I was so overjoyed thinking this is exactly how magical books are!

Joel reading the planets book

Joel reading about the solar system

When he finally closed the book he merely sat in the chair, as if he was transported to another world. He must have sat there for 3 or 4 minutes. I walked over and again attempted my spanish, “otra más”, and with his strong nod, I grabbed an I Spy book. As he turned to the first page and went for the second page, I realized that maybe he can’t read. So, I read in spanish what he was supposed to be “spying” on the page.  He quickly got the hang of it.

It is wonderful to see the students excited about the new library, even if they can’t read perfectly yet. I keep thinking the fully stocked library will be a mighty stimulus for the students to develop a love for books and to discover there are vast amounts of things they can learn and experience in their lives!

If you’d like to know what Children of Utila is and read more about what we are doing, please go to our Facebook Page and “like” us. Click HERE!