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.

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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.

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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 that Heart-Links currently supports:

  • Enciclopedia Campesina Reprinting, supports community members help each other learn to read and write in small informal settings and reading circles. These exchanges foster self-esteem, revitalize cultural traditions and build community—between young and old and among the 500 remote communities that belong to the network.