The ‘Mafalda Lives’ Children’s Library

Date: March 19 to Abril 1, 2012

Location: Montalvo (Babahoyo, Ecuador)

Organized by: Fundación Paulo Freire

Collaborative entities: Embajada de España en Ecuador

Coordinated by: Tranvía Cero – Silvia, Karina, Samuel, Pablo1 and Pablo 2 – and Makea Tu Vida – Mireia Juan and Alberto Flores.

Participantes: pasantes de Educación Parvularia de la Universidad Técnica de Babahoyo: Natalia, Gimena, Patricia, Priscila, Cindy, Jeniffer, Gioconda, Cecilia, Paula, Cintia y Ligia, junto con la Zulma de la Biblioteca del Sur, José, Ester y Adriana de la Fundación Paulo Freire, Jessy y Matilde de la biblioteca de Montalvo, Fer, Luisa y Paco de Mundo Juvenil, Henar y Lucas de Somos Ecuador, Elena y con la inestimable colaboración del artista visual Pato Ponce, el maestro de obra y músico Andrés, y cómo no, el director y artífice de esta gran minga, el licenciado Óscar Aguilar.


From March 19th to April 1st, we worked on the design and construction of the new Mafalda Vive (Mafalda Lives) children’s library in Montalvo (Babahoyo Province, Ecuador), together with Tranvía Cero, a collective from Quito. This project was under the umbrella project Bibliotecas CreActivas (“CreActive” Libraries) that began by furnishing the children’s library El Parque de los Libros (The Book Park), led by the Mundo Juvenil Foundation (Quito, Ecuador), with the help of the Spanish Embassy in Ecuador.

The project Mafalda Lives, just like the rest of the ‘CreActive’ libraries, is based on the following principles: informal education (a space that encourages children to read, a place to learn by playing), community relations, participatory design, recycling of materials that are no longer being used and the creation of collaborative networks.


Over the course of 15 days, we built out the space (which had been in disuse for many years), designing and constructing its furnishings. We tore down partition walls, cut out windows and doors, built a stage using its arch, wove a bamboo lattice, painted and decorated both interior and exterior walls, made interior and exterior gardens and planted them with ferns and palm trees, installed toilets and running water, repaired the zinc-panelled roofing and much more.


All of the library’s furnishings and fixtures were made with material from the Montalvo Library (metal structures from old chairs, tables, shelves, etc.), pallets and wood of different sizes, guadua canes, 25-litre drums, a water tank, air extractors, shuttering moulds, tarps and wire mesh from poultry farms, truck wheels, old furniture donated by neighbourhood residents, scraps of fabric from a sportswear workshop, cable reels and rollers, fans, etc.

Two weeks of heat, torrential rains and apocalyptic storms, electrical outages, lots of dust and sweat, tropical fruit juices and smoothies, arroz con pollo and mosquitos – all of this made for an unforgettable experience.

We would like to thank everyone in Montalvo who lent their support and energy to this project.



Otra Biblio Creactiva