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Google More Popular than Books at School Libraries
MEP Aims to Transform School Libraries into Resource Centers

By Oliver Pérez
Photos By Giordano Ciampini

The Google Internet search engine has become the best friend of students when doing homework.  Since the speed of searching for content in digital texts is more comfortable for students than hunting amongst various books for the information they need, the number of visits made to school libraries has decreased notably.

For this reason, at the majority of school libraries, you can count on one hand the visits of students, and even of teachers, to consult books. A team from VON confirmed this when touring several educational centers. 
In the estimation of Lorena Segura, who oversees the library at Leonidas Briceño School in Nicoya, it seems that school kids have forgotten that a place exists for them to do their school work. Instead, she related that the few who do consult the library have been university students.

The library offers 3635 books to those interested in learning about a variety of themes, but their content isn’t so varied or up-to-date.

“The library has many books, but the students don’t like to read. They search the Internet, where a lot of the information they find isn’t of much use. We have to find mechanisms to help attract the school kids,” explained the librarian. 


Similar to what’s happening in the educational centers, Librarian Grethel Delgado, in charge of Nicoya’s Municipal Public Library, also commented that the percentage of visits to the library has been very low in recent years.

“The Internet has affected book use a little since students prefer to use the Internet for the speed with which they can obtain information,” she pointed out.

Availability of Libraries in Samara and Nosara
Samara’s rural high school doesn’t yet have a library, but they have earmarked one of the recently-built classrooms for this purpose. In the meantime, a small library with books in a variety of languages is open to the public in the facilities of Intercultura.

In Nosara, students have two options. The David Kitson Library offers computers with Internet as well as an extensive collection of books that they can use for homework. In addition, the Nosara high school has a school library. 

Dani Campos has been the librarian there for 10 years and noted that things have changed quite a bit, explaining that libraries haven’t disappeared but rather they have transformed with the use of technology, which she sees as a complement to other services offered by the library. “When I arrived I felt very limited and now it’s a different story… With the telephone I can connect to the Internet if I can’t find something here, and that way I download the information for them,” she explained. “I’m also a mediator of information.”

Part of her job as mediator is to help people find trustworthy information, whether in a book or on the Internet. “We always have the information there on the Internet; we know that with just a click the information is there. What happens is that not everything on the Internet is real, so from a library science point of view what we do is orient the user to utilize real information, what they really need.”

MEP Aims to Transform School Libraries
Taking into account the increase of use of technology, the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) has Chilean experts providing support for the transformation of school libraries into Learning Resource Centers.

The objective of the initiative, which started in August, is to provide technical knowledge tools to advisors, librarians and teachers for the transformation of school libraries, indicated Fabio Jimenez, MEP’s director of International Affairs and Cooperation.

At the same time, some educators are making an effort to attract students back to books. 
Jocsan Briones, Cacique Nicoa school director, explained that, he and a teacher, Erick Zuñiga, have initiated a reading project among the students.    

“With this we’re trying to get students to not forget about books. The problem is that now (with the use of Internet) the student utilizes the ‘copy and paste’ method. This does not help them get an education at all,” pointed out Briones.  


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Tune into Radio Samara

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