I found myself standing in front of the Casa de la Literatura Peruanain (House of Peruvian Literature) in the Historical Centre of Lima, Peru last week. I don’t know if you have the same feeling, but when I walk by a library, I get a feeling of reverence alongside a magnetic pole that has me stopping in my tracks. It was a sight to behold. I couldn’t wait to go in.
I could spend an entire day in this library – you can see why. Brightly lit, books lining the walls, tables and chairs inviting me to sit down and take it all in. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time. I would have to get the Coles Notes version, quickly snap a few pictures, and continue on.
This library belongs to the Ministry of Education and provides free services to its patrons. Specializing in works and magazines related to Peruvian and foreign literature, as well as related disciplines related to the humanities, social sciences, arts and education, it offers activities aimed at disseminating knowledge of Peruvian literature, promoting diverse literary experiences.
Very much like our libraries in BC, this library actively engages their community, hosting literary exhibitions, film screenings, children’s activities, theater functions, recitals of poetry, readings, musical shows, conferences, congresses, seminars, and much more. They offer regular programs such as:
- Grandmothers and grandparents story time – volunteers aged 60 and up are trained in oral narrative strategies to host storytelling sessions in schools, libraries, hospitals and any organized institution.
- The Friends of the House of Literature program – bringing together a network of teachers to develop strategies to streamline curriculum instruction in elementary and secondary schools.
as well as a permanent exhibition that provides a tour of the history of literature that complements the work teaching Peruvian literature to reflect on the cultural and linguistic diversity of the country.
As I turned to leave, I discovered an outdoor reading patio making my departure that much more difficult. The prominence of wood floors and tables in an outdoor area clearly show the lack of rain in Lima – the one main difference that I found between our libraries in BC, and this library here.
I would love to be introduced to the library you left behind in your home country. If you wish to share this experience, please get in touch.