The Rural Libraries program, Book Chest, run by Brazil’s Ministry of Agrarian Development’s (MDA) Secretariat of Agrarian Restructuring, will be present at the 14th International Book Fair, in Cuba, from February 3 to 13, in Havana’s San Carlo de la Cabaí±a Fortress. Brazil will be a special guest.
The Book Chest (Arca das Letras, in Portuguese) project was created in December, 2003, for the purpose of undertaking specific measures to meet the need for libraries in rural areas.
According to the coordinator of the program, Cleide Soares, “each community participates in the choice of books it wants to have, where the library will function, and who will act as voluntary literary agents, in charge of handling the books.”
Each library has a different stock of books, in accordance with the demands of residents of the municipality. Each Chest holds around 200 books. But the number of titles can be even greater.
“Over time the libraries’ stocks are updated. The project continues to send new titles, and we encourage the communities to organize local campaigns to collect more books. The Chest is just a nucleus,” the coordinator explains.
The partnership between the MDA and the Ministries of Education, Culture, and Justice has already distributed 437 Chests, in 2004, and hopes to deliver another thousand units all over Brazil this year.
The Book Chest sent to the International Fair in Cuba will be donated to an institution selected by the Cuban government. It should be useful to both the Brazilians who study or live in Cuba and the Cubans themselves.
Translation: David Silberstein