Cajamarca, Peru

Founded in 1971 by Father John Medcalf, the Rural Libraries Network comprises a web of more than 500 tiny libraries housed in the homes of dedicated volunteer librarians throughout the mountains surrounding Cajamarca and neighbouring provinces in northern Peru.

Alfredo Mires, director of Rural Libraries Network

The Network publishes and distributes to its members books that record the lives, stories and knowledge of the country’s rural Indigenous inhabitants, the campesinos. Librarians both house the reading materials and take leadership in establishing reading circles for young and old to promote literacy, education and pride in the campesino culture. The books are a tool for both literacy training and cultural revival.

Twice a year, gatherings are held in Cajamarca, where the librarians can exchange books, share information and strategize on issues affecting their communities. Mining and the environmental and social violence that it brings is one of the major challenges facing these communities.

Projects supported by Heart-Links Lazos de Corazón: