Reflections on Pathways from board member, Donna Pauly

Six years and one phone call—I couldn’t have guessed where we’d be today! That fateful call came from my friend, Nancy, asking for my librarian expertise with some books in Spanish for a project being worked on in the Dominican Republic. Her church group wanted to start a library to provide a space where children, women and marginalized groups could learn to read as well as offer other educational opportunities for the community. Of course I wanted to help!

I knew the U.S. concept of a free library system wasn’t available in many countries, and I learned, not in the Dominican Republic. Nancy and her volunteer “crew” got together around her dining room table to process books for the project in Gaspar Hernandez. (Lots of talking, camaraderie and lunch!) As part of that crew, I’ve met wonderfully dedicated women who shared a desire to promote literacy in one small part of the world.

Nancy and I spent hours discussing how best to set up the library and how to label (catalog) each book so that it would be most useful to the residents as they had never experienced a lending library. Additionally, I’ve assisted Nancy with cataloging of new books, assigning reading levels and processing of these books.

More recently I participated in a group discussion to examine activities that promote literacy through establishing libraries in other developing countries. Sarah was the visionary I met that evening as the idea for Pathways to Global Literacy emerged. This is a dynamic group and I was honored to be part of the dialogue.

A humble beginning in one small village in the Dominican Republic…….and now, Pathways to Global Literacy. I’m excited to be part of that future.

Donna Pauly

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