CASA’s third rural library build
By Gabriela Salazar
CASA is a local nonprofit that has focused on providing education and health opportunities for the local San Miguel youth since 1981. As one of CASA’s ten programs, CASA has provided the San Miguel community with access to a public library since 1990. Since then, the library has flourished and is now located on the main grounds of CASA in Santa Julia, and now includes a computer and videolab as well.
In 2010, as part of the program, the rural library project was born, based on the mission to increase children’s love of reading. Focusing on reaching the rural communities around San Miguel that have little or no access to books, the project included lending children’s books and conducting weekly reading lectures for preschool and elementary schoolchildren. As the project developed, it became apparent that the children’s interest in reading was growing and that they were more and more motivated to listen to a story.
In 2011, the project developed further and bookshelves with books were brought to the elementary schools so that the children would have access to books and be able to check them out on a regular basis. In 2011, ten small libraries were installed within classrooms, however, it was noted that some of the schools had separate spaces that were being underutilized for storage. After discussion with the teachers, it was decided that these spaces would be perfect for the rural libraries.
In 2012, the CASA Library Coordinator, Gabriela Salazar, with the support of the Foundation Manifest and Amistad Canada, along with numerous volunteers, were able to remodel, repair, and construct two of these spaces for rural libraries in the nearby communities of Rancho Viejo and Los Juarez. The libraries were created, located on the grounds of the community’s preschool and elementary school, giving children access to books on a daily basis.
The libraries are managed with the help of mothers from the community who volunteer for the job, along with the teachers in the schools. The project has been a success so far, resulting in more involvement from the mothers who now read regularly to their children, and children who are now captivated by books. This year, the goal is to construct five new rural libraries, starting at the end of April with the community La Regalada.
If you would like to help in the library at La Regalada, the construction begins Sunday, April 21, to Tuesday, April 23. Please join us for one day—or the three days! CASA’s Library will receive any type of support so that we can continue to give local children tools for their future. If you would like to join us, please contact Nina Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.