Librarians Without Borders – Mark Gelsomino

Melanie Sellar, Co-Executive Director of Librarians Without Borders, and founded the group as a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario. Mark Gelsomino Co-Executive Director and active since 2010, Guatemala Project Lead Laura George
Left to Right : Melanie Sellar is Co-Executive Director of Librarians Without Borders who founded the group as a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario. Mark Gelsomino, Co-Executive Director and active since 2010. Guatemala Project Lead Laura George

NOVEMBER  2013

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Mark Gelsomino, Co-Executive Director – Librarians Without Borders, in an interview with Mark Ulyseas

“To the best of my knowledge, neither LWB nor any of our partner libraries has ever been subjected to any overt political pressure to remove a title from our collections. Most of the libraries we support are small and many cater specifically to children and youth. LWB has always been very careful to choose literacy material that fosters a love of reading without promoting particular religions or political ideologies.

That being said, in some areas of the world the simple act of reading is revolutionary. In Guatemala for instance, it’s not uncommon for families to subsist in the equivalent of $1-3 American per day. There can be a great deal of pressure for kids to leave school at a young age in order to help support their families. School can often be seen as a negative, as it removes a breadwinner from contributing to the household income. Many families have to choose between the potential long term gains of education and the more immediate needs of feeding their families. This can be particularly pronounced when it comes to young girls. Childrearing and sibling care often falls upon them. When you’re struggling to support your family it’s an all hands on deck situation. Investing time into reading is a luxury some people find difficult to afford. ” – Mark Gelsomino 

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Melanie Sellar is Co-Executive Director of Librarians Without Borders and founded the group as a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario. She has lead the development of LWB from a small student group into a fully functioning international non-profit organization. She also works as the Education Services Librarian at Marymount College, a private liberal arts college in Los Angeles. Email: melanie.sellar@lwb-online.org

Mark Gelsomino currently sits as the Co-Executive Director of Librarians Without Borders and has been active in the group since 2010. Through his work with LWB, he has had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala on several occasions and support literacy initiatives all over the world. Gelsomino also works as the Planning Librarian for the Ottawa Public Library in Canada’s national capital. He is currently working on creating a media and technology workspace that will act as a local hub for technological learning and innovation. Email: mark.gelsomino@lwb-online.org

Website: LibrariansWithoutBorders.org
Facebook: facebook.com/librarianswithoutborders
Twitter: @LWB-Online

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