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Librarians and Technologists Visit Libraries in Haiti

Librarians and Technologists Visit Libraries in Haiti



presented at columbia university libraries

presented at columbia university libraries



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  • Thanks: anna, ted, vaniLink is to full photosetOrganized by Eric, who wears a ring like mine.Technology work with some of the groupsVisit in january, which is four years after the earthquakeNGOs vs. grassroots projectsHaiti—run by corporations, no tax base, free market capitalism leads to no infrastructure and everyone armed. In [the illiterate women in his night classes]’s progress [Teacher Gu] saw his merit, not as an intellectual but as a worker ant, moving the smallest grains of sand away from a mountain that lay between his people and an enlightened society.Yiyun Li. The Vagrants. 2009
  • Isemonde Joseph grew up in Haiti’s notorious Cité Soleil slum and was the top girl in her high school class. In 1997, shortly after she graduated, she asked her former teacher, ConorBohan, for $30 to register for secretarial school. Conor encouraged Isemonde to pursue her dream of studying medicine and paid for her first year’s tuition and books. Realizing that many high school graduates never reached their potential due to extreme poverty, Conor began matching other deserving students with sponsors and HELP was born.
  • 5% of Haitian kids graduate from high schoolEven so, 1,000 applicants for every seat in the public universities, no alternate funding or loans for privateHaitian unemployment 80-90%. Have to bring people in from other countries (Philippines, notably) to do jobs Haitians don’t have the skills for, e.g. clerk, bank teller. Average earnings in Haiti $800/year.
  • Straight-A students from all over the countryHarder to find eligible female students, working for parity50 students in this year’s HELP class, 45% female (girls have more demands at home, so grades suffer, once in program, they shine)Leaders for Haiti. Service projects like tutoring and street cleaning. HELP students have 100% employment and earn $10,000/year. Grads required to stay in Haiti. Thinking 2-3 generations down the line.
  • Universities don't necessarily have librariesLibrary staff & student n/a when we were there. Student had an evening class. Class schedules all over the place.
  • The term SAKALA is both an acronym and a word in and of itself. As an acronym, it stands for “SantKominoteAltenatifAkLape” which translates from Kreyol to English into “The Community Center for Peaceful Alternatives.”  As a word, it translates roughly to “We will find our way together.” or accepted. "complete" in Sanskrit
  • Daniel Tillias, HELP graduate, grew up in cite soleil, most impoverished neighborhood in HaitiDespite paxchristi funding, Not outside do-goodersThough book collection is the usual mixed bag of donations—not much in kreyol.
  • Lures kids in with soccer, alternative to gangs. Team called Union, 2nd division, fair play trophyDaniel pointing at a player who went on to play in south america.
  • Soccer players sick of retrieving balls from garbage and medical waste, so built garden—largest urban garden in Haiti. Moringa tree.
  • NOT SAKALA, but next door10% of schools in haiti publicNo public libraries in cite soleil (maybe 4 in PAP, including national library)
  • Changed some of my thinking on MOOCs. Want to identify other free resources like Khan Academy, JSTOR, digital badges for accreditation
  • Zine like pamphlets written by a nun. In kreyol. Spread peace.
  • Small membership feeFounded in 1995. Supports libraries around the country: money and tech, solar panels for electricityLending ebooks, creating ebooksMost membership libraries house-sizedFew books in kreyol, Libraries without borders brings French booksWeak, unregulated school systemMonthly Book swapFree performancesTech training for patrons, including social networking—lots of Facebook20,000 volumes, not much media (rights concerns)Borrowing: two books for two weeks
  • Tap-taps, 500 books per mobile, serve 2000 readers a week—mobile tech!Rather than US semi-truck bookmobiles that couldn’t navigate PAP streets. Similar to OWS people’s library, reflecting community values and needs, not recreating in our image.
  • PMB open source catalog, open source state of mindNot yet online
  • Formal LIS training is new. Online.
  • Walked in off the streetConfusion, generosity, genuine pleasure at hosting us, director getting out of car to say goodbye again to eric and damienAlso ludotheque, game library (Scrabble)Promotes haitian books & authorsPublic readings and other events like book salonsInternational book fair: Saul Williams – spoken word poet, american expat in france, vegan, anti-war****Haiti mother of freedom, in Caribbean and the world****
  • Remote 17 CLACs: reading and cultural events centers
  • 3,000 books: youth literature, fewer scientific books, Dewey2 librarians, 2 volunteersAlso spaces for games and mediaBring books to community for reading sessionsClasses visit library for use of books and techMovies and performancesHaitian schools are held in the morning, so programming from 2-8Books mostly in french, programming in french & kreyolPromote book production in both languages with writing contests, support production of 200 books/year
  • Youth volunteers mentor kids and community in readingBoys in reading room, didn’t want to take photos of people, or circulation book (library staff snatched it away from our cameras)Careful not to take pictures of any people, hence the weird angles. The place was packed.
  • Trunk/tree of lifeMasisi – man who interacts in the world as a womanMadivin – lesbian or female bisexualMakomer – sort of MTFMix – person who has homosexual sex but doesn't identify as gayEvangelical christians suckFlag drive http://jessalingel.tumblr.com/post/76591208815/supporting-queer-advocacy-in-haiti-rainbow-flag-drive
  • Value of reading and learningTranslates to men, even though girls start out as the bigger readersOther participantsEric Goldhagen, open source software developer, does tech work with help & kofavivJessaLingel, postdoc and microsoft as researcherDamien Luxe, works with Eric and also interference archiveMelissa Morrone, BPL Info Commons, also on LAP delegationRick Van Savage, long-time activist: Chiapas, currently in Honduras

Librarians and Technologists Visit Libraries in Haiti Librarians and Technologists Visit Libraries in Haiti Presentation Transcript

  • BiblioTechA: Activist Librarians & Technologists Go to Haiti Presented by Jenna Freedman at Columbia University Libraries February 2014
  • HELP - Haitian Education and Leadership Program Help students get through college with: funding mentoring, including students’ parents additional education: English, leadership, office culture resources: 24-hour computer lab, library continuous assessment & improvement of services
  • HELP Classroom
  • HELP Library
  • HELP Library
  • SAKALA - Community Center for Peaceful Alternatives located in Cité Soleil funded by Pax Christi soccer community garden library, computer lab
  • Cité Soleil
  • SAKALA Soccer Team, Cité Soleil
  • Community Garden SAKALA, Cité Soleil
  • Classroom in Cite Soleil
  • School Library in Cité Soleil
  • SAKALA Library, Cité Soleil
  • SAKALA Library, Cité Soleil
  • FOKAL - Foundation for Knowledge and Liberty membership library Soros funding Taptap mobile libraries Library director participates in ALA, Caribbean LA & IFLA
  • FOKAL Library
  • FOKAL Library
  • FOKAL Library
  • FOKAL Library
  • FOKAL Library Tap-Tap
  • FOKAL Library
  • FOKAL Library Director, Eric Toussaint
  • DNL - National Book Board focus on reading & publishing remote locations regular events library
  • DNL Library
  • DNL Library
  • KOFAVIV – women rape survivors KOURAJ – LGBT (M)
  • LINKS, CREDITS, QUESTIONS dnlhaiti.org fokal.org/en uhelp.net kofaviv.blogspot.com kouraj.org paxchristiusa.org/programs/sakala photos by Eric Goldhagen, Jessa Lingel, Melissa Morrone and me.