Library in times of pandemic

While our activities planned with the “Puriq Library” or walking library were encouraging, they were paralyzed by the national state of emergency declared by the Peruvian government due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decree required everyone to participate in mandatory quarantine with all group gatherings, including all cultural activities being canceled. Our projects and activities were canceled, as well as the visitors we planned to receive this year. Needless to say, this fact was not only a hard blow to the institutional plans we had, but it was also a hard-emotional blow, since the previous spirit and enthusiasm turned into frustration and reluctance. #STAYATHOME was the social media’s trend, and our houses became a place where we least wanted to stay in this situation of uncertainty. Then, we asked ourselves: What do we do now? This question reminds me of Santiago Benavides, Colombian singer-songwriter who in one of his songs says:

I don’t know what to do, oh god, I don’t know what to do,

Something tells me that it is safer to go back

And at the same time, I see that the sea

Is a good place to walk

and truly believe and see your miracles.

Is the deep sea a good place to walk? Although it seems silly to some, to me the sea would be a wonderful place where you can walk, but you can only do this feat with faith. Therefore, this was a time to approach the only truth and security that we can find in any circumstance: The Bible, the word of God. And suddenly, it occurred to us to record videos in which we read books that we have in the library, so that the girls and boys who stay at home could listen and enjoy. We decided to start with one of the cardboard books that we had written in Quechua to read to the children of Sarhua, why not? Unfortunately, we realized that reading books on social networks that we didn’t write could be harmful, since we do not have the rights to do this.  Instead, we decided to publish our own cardboard books in Quechua and the acceptance of our publications encouraged us to continue creating and writing for Andean girls and boys. We have been publishing handmade cardboard books for three months now, and some of our titles are: Pichqa chiwchicha (five chicks), Kuyaq mama (mother’s love), Uywakuna (animals), Imaynallam? (How are you?), Utuskuru (Gusanito), among others. During this process we’ve met, at least digitally, some people who encouraged us to continue producing and disseminating children’s literature. They shared interesting courses and readings to help us learn about work that had already been done so we could continue bringing the books and literature closer to our Peruvian girls and boys. At the moment we are conducting this community outreach by social media alone, but it is our hope that we will soon be able to return with books in person. We do not yet have sufficient bibliographic material or the financial means to make this a reality, but unlike at the start of the pandemic, today we are certain that these dreams can come true. We encourage you to walk through this sea of ​​uncertainty with your eyes on your dreams, and the only one that can help us make these dreams come true.

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