A 13-year-old boy, a resident of Moravia, visits his community library almost every day after school and even on vacation, and, if they would open on weekends, he would also be there on Saturdays and Sundays.
Many times he arrives alone; other times he gets together with friends to visit the library.
In a report by La Nacion, there he spends between four and five hours, but not precisely studying or reading. He spends his time watching videos, surfing on Facebook or playing video games on the computer.
“I always come to use the computers and the Internet to see Facebook or I go to the games. My mom knows that I am here, I have been coming since I started school,” said the young man who starts seventh grade this year when school begins its 2018 year in February.
Do you read a book? The boy was asked. “Very rarely, almost not, but I have asked for something to take home,” he replied.
“It is preferable that these young people are in these places than in the street”, says Montserrat Blanco, director of the Moravian public library.
“There are five children between the ages of 9 and 13 who come every day to use the computer, to access social networks or play video games. They bring a sandwich, they go out to eat and then they come back. They listen to music, we have hearing aids so that they do not bother other users,” Blanco explained.
Libraries in Costa Rica are struggling, the digital age and poor reading of Costa Ricans means libraries lack visitors. Meaning they have to innovate.
Some of that innovation means having to offer its few visitors more than just books. In the country, there are 60 libraries that have had to offer language courses, craft workshops, zumba classes, yoga and even free Internet, which is what allows the young Moravian resident to spend up to five hours every day in his local library.
According to Lovania Garmedia, director of the National Library System – Sistema Nacional de Bibliotecas (Sinabi) – these activities have allowed the visits to libraries increase to more than one million users per year.
Garmedia stressed that if young people are in the library, they can get to know the other services offered there.
For example, she mentioned, the reading club promotes that the young users take a book home and then come to the library to discuss it. She added that for this year, the library is planning to offer chess classes for young people.