Reader to Reader's Cait Scudder reports on the opening of the new community library in Santa Cruz, Costa Rica)
I am happy to say that Beyond el Campo continues to advance smoothly and steadily. Right now, there is a family (mainly the mother and her 14 year old son) who are running the library, which is open to the community 3 days a week. She has told me so many times how incredible this experience is for her, to have something to do, to get out of the house-- a major problem in these kinds of rural communities is the lack of work for women. I am also so happy to see her son, Danny, really enthused about working here.
We now have an established system of library cards, a regular schedule, volunteers to act as the librarians, book stands, and a secure lock for the library. It is in its first stages, to be sure, but it is fully functional, and so far there have been over 50 people who have come into the library and checked out a book.
The computer we brought down is also going to very good use. All of the library cardholders are registered in the system-- Danny has been teaching Gladys how to use a computer, and she is so happy to be learning how to use it.
In the beginning of this week, I am in San Jose, and today am going to meet with the library sciences school of the Universidad De Costa Rica, to see about getting some help getting our library started. I am also going to look in to purchasing a dehumidifier to put in the library, seeing as the climate in Santa Cruz, especially during the rainy season, is very humid and we don't want the books to get destroyed. Later in the week
I am going to Santa Cruz to meet with Victor, Gladys, Danny, Sergio, and the rest of the library committee to see where we are, where we are going, and what are short and long terms needs and goals are.
I am so proud of this community and so thrilled to see the really remarkable progress we have made in less than a year. It is incredible.