Struggling to find the money to feed and clothe their children, parents are unable to afford books…
Bookshelves lined with books are a common occurrence in most American homes. Should the home not possess any books, an American child’s school most certainly will have a small library. But this is not the case for the families of Anapra. Struggling to find the money to feed and clothe their children, parents are unable to afford books. The public library in downtown Juarez requires a bus fare that many cannot spare, and until recently most people avoided downtown because of the violence. And most shocking, the schools are also empty of books, leaving no options for hundreds of children and their parents who are hungry for knowledge. When asked about the value of having a library in Anapra a mother named Margarita said “It would help me and my children because they need books and they are expensive for me to buy.”
We believe books are a crucial component of education, knowledge and empowerment. A student assessment report found that 40% of 15 year olds in Mexico do not reach a baseline reading proficiency level that will allow them to participate effectively and productively in life, a rate significantly higher than other comparable countries. And research has shown that access to books can have a direct and powerful impact on educational attainment. A study by Evans, Kelley (2010) “Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations” found that having many books in the home was as good a predictor of children’s educational attainment as parents’ education levels. In fact, access to books was more predictive than then father’s occupation or the family’s standard of living. The greatest impact of book access was seen among the least educated and poorest families.
“Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled: This could change your life.” – Helen Exley
In addition to having a direct impact on educational attainment, books can serve to engage people and build community both through the power of the written word and the ability to share and discuss over a good book.