San Juan del Sur Biblioteca

flower people

The San Juan del Sur Biblioteca was the first lending library in Nicaragua, providing books, information, technology, and community center services to the people of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and its surrounding communities. This program celebrated 7 years in operation this past November.

Its objective was to start a lending library and mobile program for San Juan del Sur and the small outlying communities nearby to provide books, resources and community center services where none were available. Libraries in Nicaragua do not loan their books, and new books are rare. There is little or no access to books or information and there are very few books or materials in many schoolrooms. The SJDS Biblioteca has become an integral part of the community and now serves as a successful example to other lending library programs in Latin America. There are over 4,800 registered library card holders in the town library and 4900, in the mobile’s register. There is always the question when the library is discussed “But do you get the books back?” The answer is a resounding yes and with a sound system any lending library that is initiated has a very good chance of success.

The San Juan del Sur Biblioteca has over 12,650 books on its shelves and in circulation and had over 8,210 books in its mobile program’s supply of books that go out to 31 outlying rural communities on a rotating basis 3 days a week. This past fall the rains were very strong and floods occurred in several of the schools that participate in the mobile program. Together both programs have a yearly loss of under 500 books. This includes books that are too damaged to continue using and surplus books that are “weeded out” and then given away or sold. This percentage is as good as the accepted % of loss in libraries in North America. There are also 10 libraries supported by service groups, church groups and individuals throughout Nicaragua and the Tileran, Costa Rica community library who use this lending system. They are part of the Library In a Box Program from the library’s supporting foundation in Colorado. The Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All Program is a 501c3 charitable organization that can provide donation receipts in the US for financial contributions. SJDS Biblioteca has over 3,000 books in storage for our use and for sale at cost or donation to new lending libraries as they join the lending system. In the past six years over 40,000 books have been purchased for or donated to the library and its new thriving associates. All report similar successes to ours in loaning the books. In many places the books we bring are the very first books ever in the hands of the children and some adults. There is also a room of books in English available for loan. Come “check us out”!

For more information, please visit