Thursday, May 26, 2011

Volunteering at the Oaxaca Lending Library

In 1966 a few expatriates got together and founded the Oaxaca Lending Library. Currently there are over 20,000 books and 450 library members.

This week the library was closed for a spruce up. Painters and book cleaners were needed. This morning I dressed in grub wear and took the half hour walk from my apartment to the library. Thursday is my day to work at the library. I use to work the cafe, serving up coffee, toasting bagels and handing out soft drinks. Recently I moved over to the front desk where I check books in and out, renew memberships etc. Normally I wear relatively nice clothes and walk home after my shift.

Dust is everywhere in Oaxaca, and the library is no exception. Today I spent four hours taking books off shelves, dusting the shelves and the books and putting the books back on the shelf. Tedious work and beyond a shadow of a doubt dirty work.

The roof above the room I was working in is made of frosted plastic and the sun beat down. The dust from several years of neglect was so bad I doubt my dusting did much good. At the end of my shift II took a cab home because I was so dusty and sweaty I was embarrassed to be seen on the street.

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