Imagine you are a kid growing up in rural Nicaragua where the literacy rate is about 50% and there is no access to books. Now, enter the Puertas del Saber (Doors of Knowledge) Library. Puertas del Saber is not just a library, but an information and education center organized to meet the needs of the local Nicaraguans. It is a place with hundreds of books in Spanish and librarians who encourage children to develop a love of books and reading. A place with computers for researching school projects and connecting to others throughout the world. A place where adults can find information and programs relevant to their family, health, and vocational needs. Access to information is critical to development in this rural area, helping to open people’s minds and expand their world of possibilities.
With regular hours in its Limón 2 building, the library hosts up to 90 students daily for reading activities and tutoring sessions. Some children and youth ride the bus for over an hour to attend; for others the bus fare is prohibitive. To overcome these obstacles, we launched our Biblioteca Móvil (Mobile Library). Through this outreach program, we bring books to neighboring communities, where we visit each classroom and engage kids in the world of books. Children come to the front of the room and take turns reading aloud. At recess there is a line around the playground as children wait to look through the bins of books and choose one to take home. There, they will often read the book to younger siblings or even to parents or grandparents. We are grateful for the support of Better World Books, which is allowing us to expand to serve 4 additional communities.