1) Who are we?
We’re Libraries Without Borders, a leading NGO promoting cultural and social development through access to books in France and around the world. We operate in over 20 countries, with a special focus in Haiti. To encourage long-term and sustainable development, we believe that it is first of all necessary to supply communities with tools to educate themselves, to disseminate information and knowledge internally, to reduce the digital divide within their communities, and to draw on their own unique and local heritage. In other words, we promote the idea that the library is above all a kind of toolbox, from which communities can draw and impart knowledge, promote community solidarity and co-existence, as well as support the poor. We would like to tell you about one of our projects in Haiti: the BiblioTaptap.
2) Detailed description of the project:
To compensate for the lack of cultural institutions in Haiti, we created, in partnership with the principal library institutions in Haiti, a mobile library system similar to the Haitian collective taxis, or TapTaps. It occurred to us that this was the simplest and most effective way to bring books directly into communities that do not otherwise have access to them. There are currently 2 BiblioTaptaps operating in Haiti’s Northern Department and in the Port-au-Prince region. They carry nearly 3,000 books in French and Haitian Creole (novels, newspapers, comics, poetry, etc). Two trained operators welcome the public, offering cultural activities, readings, puppet shows, debates, and so on... Children can also find colored pencils, paper, a reading area, and much more!
Developing the desire to read, opening up new horizons, sparking creativity, and communicating with others: these are some of the main tasks of a library, making it an indispensable tool for social well-being. This is also the mission of BiblioTaptap. It allows us to offer a fair and open library, accessible to all, and to decentralize cultural infrastructures and promote the "pleasure" reading, thus encouraging the creativity of the TapTap’s 1400 monthly visitors.
The overwhelming success of the first two BiblioTaptaps has convinced us of the need for a third, which will serve the Central Department. This is where you come in! We need your support to put this third Haitian mobile library on the road.