The last day we work in the library I fondly refer to as “push day”. It is the day you complete any cataloging and put the books on the shelves in the actual library. It is also the day we deal with any “problem” books that we have set aside to deal with later. It is a hard day but also a very fulfilling day as we see the library become real.
The next day is the day of dedication. I am always amazed at how word spreads and people come. This day there were about 50 people from the community and 10 of the top students at the local school. Two of those students helped us on the library.
I always reinforce the idea that it is now their library. I say “This library was One Library At A Time’s library, now it is yours. We put the library in order using a simplified Dewey Decimal system. this is a system that is used throughout the world. But, if this system does not work for you, change it.” I hold up a book and read the title and authors name. I then talk about respect for books and how to turn the pages gently. Then I hand the book to the librarian. And reiterate that it is now the library for the community.
Krystie, the Peace Corp volunteer then asked for questions. And they asked. I was so glad that my Spanish was good enough and they were comfortable enough the to ask. I believe that their comfort level is greater when we are able to live in their community. They have seen us and many have spoken with us as we walked down their streets.