The “popular library words of the soul” (from the Spanish: “Biblioteca Popular Palabras del Alma”) is founded in May of 2008, in Peruzzotti, one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Pilar, in the province of Buenos Aires. The founders had the objective to create a place where children and adults have better access to books and modern technologies, could learn and improve their health and cultural knowledge in order to expand their personal horizons.
At first the library was mobile at the central place at the Peruzzotti neighbourhood. During 2008 it was at here, where books were brought to, using a small trolley which at the end of the day was guarded by one of the neighbours. From 2009 we were able to rent a place at Garibaldi-street 1754. We stayed there until we finished our new construction, in September 2015.
From this moment on, thanks to the voluntary work of many neighbours, the library grew enormously. At the moment, more than 7000 books are stored in this library, more than 20 workshops are given next to other educational and cultural activities. All our activities are made within a philosophy of inclusion and prioritizing people who need our support the most.
As of the moment the library was founded, we were also organizing solidarity trips to San Pedro, a poorer city in the province of Misiones (North Argentina). In partnership with a contact in San Pedro, our organization was able to open a library in 2012 in the Santa-Rita colony and the Paraíso colony, both situated at about 12km from the city centre. The idea of these libraries came from the people of these neighbourhoods, who wanted to create a similar experience as the one we have in Peruzzotti. For the same reason, in July 2013 a library was opened in Guavirá Poty, a Guaraní colony in the territory of San Pedro. Two librarians travel between these three libraries offering computer and music-classes, help with school-tasks, workshops.
Out of the experience that Francisco Duarte, chief at Guavirá Poty, transmitted to other colonies, in 2014 we opened libraries at Arroyo Isla and Kokué Poty (both municipal of Montecarlo) and Yabotí Miri (San Pedro). In all of these cases, some members of the communities came to us asking for a community-library experience. They use our library as an educational tool with the objective to have their own school inside the community. Our organization promises to help them to organize the libraries, bring books and scholar material, visit them during every trip and help them as much as possible with the specific needs. Their main goal is to get schools and teachers to their communities.
As a library for the people, Palabras del alma is an NGO, without any political preference and open to all religions and ways of thinking. Our distinctive features are the focus on the most in need, solidarity, inclusion, simplicity, austerity, joy, hospitality and horizontality in decision -making.
COLONIA SANTA RITA (SAN PEDRO DISTRICT) The library is in the middle of the Misiones forest, in a farming community where families of German origin live together with Creole families. It is located opposite a rural school. Several boys and girls from nearby small farms go to this library. Besides offering the basic services a library offers, it also assists children with their homework and provides them with an IT room. The men and women who run this library are outstanding because of their hospitality and their warm-heartedness.
COLONIA EL PARAÍSO (SAN PEDRO DISTRICT) Palabras del Alma Library in Paraíso is run by a group of thriving, hard-working women who set a real example of community undertaking. There are different types of workshops here, such as handicrafts, recycling, music, dancing, basket making and tutoring to help children with their schoolwork. Colonia Paraíso is located at eleven kilometers from the city of San Pedro, on the edge of route 14. It is a truly green paradise, just as its name suggests.
COMUNIDAD GUARANÍ GUAVIRÁ POTY (SAN PEDRO DISTRICT) This is the first Palabras del Alma Library within a Guaraní community. It opened its doors in July 2013 and it was the first step towards the creation of a school within the same community. Guavirá Poty is located at 17 kilometers from San Pedro and at 1,000 meters from Santa Rita's library. It has very interesting books as well as singing, dancing and art workshops. It also has a very well-equipped IT room where a Guaraní instructor teaches IT to children and adults. The library brought progress and great educational opportunities for the children of the community.
ARROYO ISLA GUARANÍ COMMUNITY (MONTECARLO DISTRICT) Right in the middle of the impressive Misiones forest, we come across the Guaraní community of Arroyo Isla, which is located at 150 meters from Route 15, in Montecarlo. The library owns a collection of beautiful children's books that foster the learning process of boys and girls, who learn together with their Guaraní teacher Oscar Paredes, while they keep waiting for an official school. The adults of the community approached Palabras del Alma because they felt the need to give their children better learning prospects.
YABOTÍ MIRÍ (SAN PEDRO DISTRICT) The Palabras del Alma Library located in the Guaraní community of Yabotí Mirí was born in January 2015. It is located in the middle of the Biosphere Reserve of San Pedro, 35 kilometers away from the town. The community keeps on building their homes the classic Guaraní style, using tacuara cane, mud and straw. The village does not have electricity and its inhabitants live mainly from hunting and fishing. Chief Néstor told us that "what children need the most is education". A school is currently being built, with funds from Palabras del Alma Library and with the work of a group of Guaraní villagers, volunteers from Buenos Aires, and army soldiers. We are in the process of appointing teachers for the school.
Two times a year, more specifically in July and December, our library of Pilar (Province of Buenos Aires), organizes “solidarity travels” to the province of Misiones. These travels are open to anyone who wants to join (at democratic rates). During these travels we visit our six libraries in Misiones (including 4 Guaraní libraries, of which one of them is located in the deep Jungle. This library is only accessible by jeeps). Visiting poorer neighbourhoods and homes of children and elders in the town of San Pedro will also be part of the trip. One of the highlights will definitely be the Waterfalls of Iguazú, known as one of the seven world wonders. Each year a couple of Guarani’s will be invited to join on this touristic daytrip. Despite that many Guarini’s were born in Misiones, many of them have never even heard of this natural beauty.
During these travels to the province of Misiones, not only material aid will be brought to the region. There will be also opportunities to play games with the children, show a theatre play, organize workshops for the adults and book reading, collaborate in construction and maintenance of the libraries to live a profound experience of encounter and fraternity, surrounded by the imposing missionary nature and the warmth of the inhabitants of this lovely province. We do not see ourselves as sponsors or benefactors but as friends who want to encounter the nice people of the province of Misiones and share our time with them.
Already hundreds of people participated in these travels. For most of them, this experience of brothership, community meeting and horizontality with all Argentinians, changed their way of seeing and feeling life.
We are open for all who wants to participate in these trips.
The library is an NGO focusing on the poorest, which is located in one of the most humble neighbourhoods of Pilar, in the province of Buenos Aires. The library not only lends books, but also offers tutoring, workshops for children, adolescents (art, carpentry, assembling toys, mathematics and experiments, reading and writing, theatre, football, chess, etc.) And for adults, gender and microenterprise workshop for women, adult literacy, primary adult education, Plan FINES 2, health post, free psychological counselling …
We also organize second-hand sales, traditional parties, literary cafes, presenting plays and movies, film discussions, book presentations, in order to expand the cultural horizons of our neighbours. Where necessary, we personally support children with specific courses. Last but not least we daily offer afternoon tea and breakfast to kids who come to our activities.
Every week we welcome around 150 children, 40 Youngers (14-25years) and 120 adults in this library alone. More can be welcomed on special events.
The libraries of Palabras del Alma are open to anyone who is willing to participate by organizing workshops, helping with administrative tasks or the maintenance of buildings and books or by collaborating in an economical sense. The library is a multifunctional building where everyone is welcome.
You can contact us for more information:
One way to help realize this dream is by a deposit into our bank account:
Many institutions, Nonprofit organizations, NGOs, educational institutes, state agencies collaborate with our projects in Buenos Aires and in the province of Misiones, and make us able to concrete these projects. Some of these organizations permanently help our library are: