Sunday, 29 November 2015

The San Ignacio Public Library

When I was a child growing up in a small town the local public library was my route to the rest of the world. I learned about history, war and peace, romance, geography, intrigues, space and the universe – and I’ve never lost my love of reading.  When we moved to Belize we brought 100s, maybe 1000s, of books with us – and more on every trip back and forth to North America since then.  After reading them and sharing with friends (the reliable ones that you know will return things!), they are donated to the San Ignacio Public Library.  I often run into people who say “I really liked your book so and so”.  The San Ignacio Library is a great resource to locals, children, ex-pats and tourists alike.

Jose Bolvito and Teresita Ulloa
Teresita Ulloa, Senior Library Assistant and Jose Bolvito, Technical Assistant, manage the lovely building overlooking the Macal River which opened on Nov. 3, 2010.  The Library is the product of the Social Investment Fund, San Ignacio Town Council, Belize National Library Service and Information Systems (BNLSIS) and the local Rotary Club.  The San Ignacio Rotary Club donated fans, lights, tiles, paint and the computers that are still in use there.  Internet access is available to library users for a fee of $2.00 an hour which goes towards maintenance and programs.

The Library has a full range of fiction and non-fiction (and appreciate all donations of books) for all ages.  They also run a variety of special programs to ensure that children are introduced to reading and the library’s resources including a Christmas Program (they make a wonderful tree out of old paperbacks!); celebrate specially designated weeks for Child Stimulation, Education week, Literacy week, etc.; run a reading competition for the Cayo District with the Cayo Association of Principals of Primary Schools (CAPPS); and a summer program for 7-11 year olds.

When I asked Teresita what she wanted most for the library she said “more space”.  Apparently the building was designed to have a second floor and she’s hoping the powers that be will see their way toward building that over the next year.  It would allow the growing book collection and activities to have more room.  Her second wish is for “more resources for kids”, such as games, puzzles, quiz books, “brain-teasers”, literacy materials, etc.  Her third wish was for cash donations to the library’s projects to help them buy prizes, trophies, and materials.  And finally, she hopes that someone might start a book club – especially an after school one for youth.

Contact Teresita and Jose at ; by phone at 804-0459 or visit their facebook page. And drop in for a visit – enjoy the wonderful view of the Hawksworth Bridge from their verandah, check out the collection, and enjoy the cool quiet atmosphere of the library.

CELA encourages all of it's students to bring along books to donate to the library when they visit Belize to study.
Dr. Nancy Adamson presenting books donated by CELA Students

Written by Dr. Nancy Adamson, Executive Director for Center for Engaged Learning Abroad (CELA)