Susan Riecken and Allen Andersson began thinking about retirement but decided to first try and solve some of the most immediate needs of remote Central American villages: food, medicine, schools, agriculture support and jobs. They soon realized that highest value solution they could offer was access to information, and the easiest to transport was with the Riecken Libraries.

They created the Riecken Foundation, which over the years -and with the hard work of many- has created a network of 65 libraries in poor, rural communities in Honduras and Guatemala. Learning through experience that the key to a successful library is strong community governance.

The partnership between community, municipality and the Riecken Foundation keeps their libraries strong. And leveraging the local resources greatly increases the impact that Riecken Foundation donor funding provides.

The Riecken libraries are no ordinary libraries, everyone –kids and grown-ups- can use them, can touch and borrow the books and everybody returns them on time. Riecken libraries are more than just books and Internet. They are all about adventure, freedom, democracy, opportunity, initiative and good citizenship.

Today Riecken Community Libraries are far more than places where books and information are available. They are lively community centers where -access to information and dynamic programming relevant to the community in which the library exists- do change lives.




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