A Traveling Library 2016
Since July 2013, the Traveling Libraries, the "Entonces el libro" Suitcases have been traveling free of charge to schools, libraries and museums throughout the Province of Cordoba, Argentina.
We need help making 2016 possible--our fourth year of travels!
With your help, we hope to get a THIRD traveling library going. This one to travel OUTSIDE the Prov. of Córdoba.
The Book: Entonces el libro ("So Then The Book") is a non-fictional account of my time with my Great-Uncle János, and his decision to reveal our family's identity after decades of secrecy. The reader is taken on a full color journey from Oregon to Argentina, to Transylvania, and beyond. Original letters, photographs and paintings entwine János’ testimony with my poetry to reveal a family’s identity whispered away two generations prior. The book originally came to life in English, as an artist's book, in 2006, entitled The János Book. See http://www.alexappella.com/#!the-jnos-book/c1ysx
It was published in Spanish in 2012 in Córdoba, Argentina, entitled "Entonces el libro."
The Traveling Library: Soon after the book was published in Spanish, teachers in Córdoba, Argentina began writing to me that they were using the book as a tool in their classrooms. Because of its non-traditional format (full color collage), and because of its content, it immediately became a versatile tool for educators. It has been used in a variety of subjects from History, to Literature, Anthropology, Methodology, Ethics, and more. "Entonces el libro" is most regularly used to teach about discrimination, identity, immigration, oral histories, expression, World War II, graphic design and quite regularly, it is tied into teaching about the last military dictatorship here in Argentina. As if this weren't inspiration enough to me as an author, as a bookbinder I am enthralled to see how many schools naturally decide to make their own books that tell their story once they come into contact with this one.
I created "Entonces el libro" for personal reasons. Seeing it organically turn into learning tool is exciting, and worth encouraging. It puts our family's experience as immigrants and as Holocaust victims and survivors into a perspective I had never imagined before.
After hearing from the first teachers, I had this vision of one teacher with one book, and the usual 30+ students. That didn't seem right. So I came up with the idea of a Traveling Suitcase that would equip teachers with 25 copies of the book, plus a study guide. Thanks to sponsors, I was able to put together the first Traveling Library in July 2013. 25 copies of "Entonces el libro" began traveling from town to town by bus in a suitcase. In addition to the study guide the suitcase has a registry where each school documents their experience. In 2014, due to the overwhelming demand, I set up a second Traveling Library. There are now 2 suitcases traveling throughout the Province of Córdoba, totally free of charge.
THIS YEAR WE HOPE TO CREATE A THIRD TRAVELING LIBRARY. For the first three years, due to cost and logistics, the traveling libraries have only been available within the Province of Córdoba. I receive requests regularly for the traveling library from schoools OUTSIDE the Province of Córdoba. I think we can make it happen.
How It Works: So far, schools, museums and libraries within the Province of Córdoba were able to use "Entonces el libro" as a learning tool FREE OF CHARGE because each book has a sponsor.
Interested teachers are in touch with me, they reserve their dates, and I send them the Traveling Library by bus to their town. They have it for three to four weeks, and then they send the suitcase back to me by bus. Most teachers and institutions find out about the Traveling Suitcase via Facebook or word of mouth. While I have not achieved formal support from the Ministry of Education, institutions such as DAIA, The Goethe Cultural Institut, and Generaciones de la Shoá have sponsored books. Most sponsors, though, are enthusiastic individuals and schools who are excited to see the project continue.
The Numbers: Since the inception of the Traveling Libraries in 2013, "Entonces el libro" has been a learning tool, free of charge, for over 2400 individuals in the Province of Córdoba, visiting over 50 different schools, museums and libraries for an average of three weeks. This amount of time gives them enough room to read the book, discuss it, and develop a project based on their experience. The students have ranged in ages from 11 years old to over 80, with high school students being the most prevalent. It is rare that I personally know the teacher who reserves the suitcase. There seems to be a balance between the public and the private sector, both sides of the economic spectrum are using the suitcase as a tool. Once the suitcases hit the road, they travel non-stop until the end of the school year. That speaks mountains.
How To Help: In order for the Traveling Libraries, the "Entonces el libro" Suitcases to get on the road again, I need help with the following expenses:
SUITCASES #1 & #2
– 2,250 pesos/u$s 160 for 9 round trips on the bus. Each suitcase will travel 9 times during 2016, spending 3 to 4 weeks at each location. The average cost of each round trip is 250 pesos. GOOD NEWS! This amount is HALF of what I'd really need to be raising, because a local bus company covers many of the local trips. Woo hoo! See more HERE.
– 500 pesos/u$s 36 for replacing 5 worn out copies of Entonces el libro.
– 400 pesos/u$s 30 for contact paper used for protecting the books.
– 200 pesos/u$s 15 for making photocopies of the study guides.
– 200 pesos/u$s 15 for packing tape y garbage bags. (The suitcases, for some reason, have to travel on the bus wrapped in large black garbage sacks.)
– 200 pesos/u$s 15 for mobile phone calls made to teachers and schools for arranging the pick up of the suitcases at their local bus terminals.
3750 pesos SUBTOTAL, approximately $270 US dollars. (The exchange rate and inflation varies.)
SUITCASE #3 NEW!
– 5,600 pesos/u$s400 to pay for 7 LONG DISTANCE ROUND TRIPS, outside the Province of Córdoba. Each round trip will cost approx. 800 pesos/u$s 60.
– 2,000 pesos/u$s $143 for the 20 books that will travel in the long distance suit case.
7,600 pesos SUBTOTAL, approximately $545 US dollars.
(Luckily I have a suitcase that can be used for these trips, so no need to raise funds for that!)
GRAND TOTAL: 11,350 pesos / u$s815 dollars
Some of my favorite anecdotes:
I find it impossible to capture the magic of what is occurring with "Entonces el libro" in educational settings. The photos here speak quite a bit (click the link next to the video up above). Since July 2013, every three to four weeks when the suitcases return, before I send them off again, I am inundated with letters, responses, books, reports, and photos from the schools.
The best way to experience the celebration is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx05yqujmMc&index=2&list=PLBBN6ltezzPmXfaEn4OPY83iwNMdemE_d
MAKE SURE YOU WATCH IT WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES ON, or much of the content is lost!
Again this year, in the registry, nearly every school writes at the end of their experience with the book, “We hope the Traveling Libraries continue!”
We really do.
Thanks for your help.
Press, reviews and videos about Entonces el libro.
See the study guide
Entonces el libro on Facebook.
The Traveling Library on Facebook.