Initiating Lending Libraries in Developing Countries

As is true of much of the third world, Central American libraries seldom if ever loan their books. Schools rarely have books for reading pleasure and often there are not enough textbooks to go around. Few book stores exist and books are very expensive to buy. In many areas only the wealthy have access to books and information. For the past eleven years the San Juan del Sur Biblioteca Móvil has successfully been changing this paradigm. There are now over fifty lending libraries in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and most recently El Salvador that are lending books with the support of the Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries For All program’s Library In A Box System. There are programs provided by church groups, service groups and individuals. Go to the “Library In a Box” section for the application and more information on starting a lending program.  The HJH Program and the San Juan del Sur Biblioteca staff provide a mentoring program  and take requests for inclusion on the list of invitees for workshops and programs offered annually on a variety of helpful subjects including storytelling, book repair, crafting for libraries, blogging and Social media information.  ( See Protocols and Policies)

The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners (WNPA) first lending library at Tipitapa currently provides 19 lending programs in a variety of their learning centers.

The HJH Library in a Box Recipient Program

When the first public lending library, the San Juan del Sur Biblioteca Móvil was first operating and successful, groups and individuals would ask how it was done and how they could do it also. This led to the formation of the Library in A Box Project. The system can be purchased at cost for around $250. An application to be part of the program is available with specific guidelines built in. Approval provides for a seed collection of 100 books and mentoring as requested. Many service groups, church organizations, Peace Corps workers, and groups of individuals have purchased the system, received their seed collection and moved on to create thriving libraries within the HJH Program Library In A Box Recipient program of Libraries. Benefits include training time at the SJDS Biblioteca, materials and speakers to help promote funding, site visits by staff and volunteers, seminars, training programs, periodic donations of books for the price of the shipping and books available at cost. See Collaborating Libraries for a list of most of the libraries participating in the Library in a Box program. (See Developing Nations Lending Libraries section for Protocols and Policies etc.)