Lake Atitlán Libraries logo - resembling a book opening with 6 total pages. The pages are various shades of blue except for the top right one, which is red. The words Lake Atitlán Libraries is below in a coordinated shade of blue.

Supporting literacy ​in Guatemala for ​25 years!

Read Our 2023 Report

A picture of group of young  Mayan school girls with books. They are engaging with their teacher, and a few have enthusiastically raised their hands. They were brightly colored traditional clothing and are sitting outside on benches.

Lake Atitlán Libraries (LAL) was founded to improve literacy in Guatemala and other Latin American countries by fostering and supporting libraries, schools, and teachers to promote reading in the classroom and at home. Currently, LAL works with Guatemalan organizations to identify local opportunities and methods to address literacy. All of the organizations employ Guatemalan staff who are part of their communities. Most of the funded programs are in the Sololá area of Guatemala, an area with many isolated indigenous villages.

Learn about our History and Board.


In 1993, our friend Ann Cameron started working to ​improve the municipal library in Panajachel, in the ​Department of Sololá, Guatemala, where she had ​lived for almost 10 years. Lake Atitlán Libraries Inc. ​started in the late 1990s to help support Ann in her ​mission. By 2000, the Panajachel municipal library ​was filled with books, had trained library staff, and ​developed numerous programs with the local ​schools. The New York Times called the Bibloteca ​Popular, “the finest community library in Guatemala ​and perhaps in all of Central America.”

However, on November 28th of that year, the library ​burned to the ground, destroying nearly everything ​including over 8,000 books, five computers, and a ​photocopier. While the ashes of the beloved library ​were still smoldering, a local television station started ​a telethon, and local and international support ​poured in. The New York Times and LA Times even ​reported on the fire and the efforts to rebuild the ​library. Soon a new bigger and better library was built ​and opened by the municipality in 2002. LAL helped ​to provide the tables and bookcases, computers, ​books, and traditional weavings from the regions of ​Guatemala to promote a cultural identity.

When Ann and her late husband Bill Cherry left ​Guatemala to return to live in the United States in ​2006, a new Guatemalan organization was formed to ​provide the local direction to determine the priorities ​to achieve the goals of improving literacy. Asociación ​Biblioteca Panajachelense y Regional (APB) was the

Guatemalan legal entity that LAL partnered with for six years, 2006 to 2012. Richard Adams, PhD, an American Anthropologist provided much of the work as a volunteer. In those six years, APB provided textbooks to over 100 basicos and libraries in the Lake Atitán area.

Since then, LAL has partnered with various organizations in Guatemala in our effort to provide books, supplies, training, and support to children, teachers, families, schools, and libraries. Learn more about our partners.

A scan of the January 9th, 2001 New York Times article, "Once Upon a Time, A Magical Room in Guatemala" including a black and white photograph of author Ann Cameron interacting with Mayan children in the library.

Partners: Past & Present

Mil Milagros logo - with color zig-zags representing traditional, colorful Mayan patterns. At the bottom, it says "Mil Milagros - A Thousand Miracles."

Our current partner works to serve the needs of children and their families that promote their growth and development including nutrition, health, and education. LAL has helped Mil Milagros purchase books and other supplies for school libraries as well as train teachers and mothers.

Daniele Agosta DeRossi Logo resembling an burnt orange sun with a swirl in the middle

Daniele Agostino Derossi Foundation (Past Partner)

The Foundation focused on the well-being of women and children in the Mayan Communities of Guatemala. The projects funded are related to education, health, and the development of income-generating activities with an emphasis on weaving and textile products.

Child Aid logo - "Child Aid" is in orange letters with the abstract symbol of a child with open arms.

Child Aid (Past Partner)

Child Aid programs utilize a four-year teacher training program that also provides a literacy trainer to each school, who leads teacher workshops as well as acts as a resource for the school. With funding from the DeRossi Foundation, LAL helped expand this program to five additional schools.

Picture of the Biblioteca Popular in Panajachel. The building is light stone with many arched windows along the side and an arched entrance with a pointed roof. Above the door it reads "Biblioteca Panajachel" on a metal sign. Cars line the street.

Biblioteca Popular Panajachel (Past Partner)

LAL's original partner in Guatemala. Considered one of the best libraries in the country. LAL helped provide thousands of books, computers, and supplies to the library as well as helped rebuild it after a devasting fire.

Reading Village logo - A simple image of a head reading a two-toned green book above the words, "Reading Village"

Reading Village (Past Partner)

Reading Village provided scholarships to high school students in exchange for their working as trained reading promoters with younger students. At one point, Reading Village had 95 teens reading to 4,750 children. LAL provided books as well as helped expand the program's reach.

Lake Atitlán Libraries logo - resembling a book opening with 6 total pages. The pages are various shades of blue except for the top right one, which is red. The words Lake Atitlán Libraries is below in a coordinated shade of blue.

Future Partners

Lake Atitlán Libraries is actively seeking new partners to continue their on-the-ground work in Guatemala. If you know a organization or group doing great work in Guatemala, please reach out to us.


Interested in helping us support literacy efforts in Guatemala?

Donate on Zeffy.

You may also send checks to:

Lake Atitlán Libraries Inc.

620 Grandview Dr

Hudson, WI 54016

Lake Atitlán Libraries is a 501(c)(3) public charity and all donations are tax-deductible.

Zeffy will ask for a small donation to help cover the costs of providing non-profits like LAL with a free fundraising website. You may choose to give a small amount to help cover these costs, or you may select "Other" from the drop-down menu and type in a different amount. Thank you!

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Want to read our old newsletters?

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Our Board members consist of dedicated persons in both Guatemala and the United States.

President, Rory Cameron

Vice President, Kat Cameron

Treasurer, Howard Cameron

Secretary, Teresa Cameron

Isabella Martinez Bond

Charlotte Cameron

Louise Eidsmoe

Claudia Montealgre

If you'd like to reach out to us, please email us:

A picture of the waters of beautiful Lake Atitlán reflecting the puffy, white clouds above. Volcán Toliman is in the background as well as Volcán San Pedro.

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