The Rural Libraries Network has been working in the mountains of Cajamarca for over 40 years to support and preserve the culture and traditions of the campesino community. After years of travelling throughout the region recording the stories and wisdom of these rural people, Alfredo Mires created the Enciclopedia Campesina, a collection of 20 books that document every aspect of Rural Libraries campesino life. Heart-Links was involved in the collection’s initial publication almost 20 years ago.

The encyclopedia is the cornerstone of the Rural Library Network’s literacy program. In this program community members help each other learn to read and write in small informal settings and reading circles. The network emanates from over 500 small libraries located in the homes of local “librarians.”

From years of use, the original collection is in very poor condition. This year Heart-Links has provided funding to reprint, over the next two years, 1000 copies of each of the 20 titles. Through the work of the Rural Libraries Network, the Enciclopedia Campesina and the literacy program, the printed word is no longer the enemy of the campesino.