With more libraries due to open in 2015, 110,000 books were donated this year.
A new government program in Bolivia is seeking to expand access to books across the country by establishing community libraries in both urban and rural area. The initiative is part of a government program called Bolivia Reads, established by the Ministry of Education.
While the program is designed to benefit the general population, one of the target groups are post-adult literacy graduates. Post-adult literacy student Beatriz Zegarra says the new libraries are helping her and others to practice and improve upon their reading abilities. “It is very important that we have access to a community library. This is helping to further strengthen our reading skills now that our president has supported us with literacy and post-literacy classes, which has been something really positive, especially in rural areas.”
Many areas lacked access to public books, which the government is hoping to address through the new program established in 2014. More than 110,000 books were donated for the first phase of the community library project, with at least 500 libraries already installed. An additional book donation drive and the establishment of a number of additional libraries are planned for 2015.
Bolivia’s Vice Minister of Alternative and Special Education, Noel Aguirre, responsible for overseeing the program, says the new initiative is part of an effort to guarantee the Bolivian population’s right to access communication. “We are in a period of greater equity, greater complementation, greater observance of the human rights of all human beings, and this includes the right to communication, whether it be written or spoken, and being able to read and write is an essential factor.”