I recently visited the public library in Rincon on the western coast of Puerto Rico.
A lovely town known for its surfing beaches, Rincon is possibly the landing site of the first Spanish explorers and the peninsula is home to about 17,000 habitantes in ten barrios (neighborhoods) scattered among the precipitous green hills.
If I’m reading the Spanish brochure correctly, it would seem La Biblioteca Municipal Luis Munoz Marin was founded in 1980.
One of the two library assistants, Migdalia Lorenzo, (Wanda Vializ, the other assistant, wasn’t there) was very helpful and welcoming and gave me a tour of the facility. It was fascinating seeing a library where Spanish was the first language, especially as PR is a US territory.
Migdalia told me they have English language titles as well as Spanish and lots of tourists from the states check them out by the dozens. The library lends to anyone in PR and there are no late fees! Migdalia or Wanda will call up patrons to remind them to return overdue items – at the end of the year they check their paper circulation records to see what’s missing.
The library has five old computers that access the internet and will give tourists guest passes. They have 17,000 books (including many Latin American classics), 300 multimedia items (many donated) plus magazines in their collection, which is quite old as all monies are frozen (except, hopefully the salaries for the four staffers (including the gardener and janitor)). The mayor gives them the funds, but the current economy has made things difficult. There’s also an area with books on the history of Puerto Rico with a section for Rincon.
There is no children’s room, but they do have books for kids.
They are very clever with their use of space.
Especially as the upstairs has no air conditioning.
There’s also a room with a TV, DVD player and slide projector. During library week in April they have programs and storytimes here.
The library is conveniently located close to the plaza and they also provide free wi-fi for the whole downtown and beyond. It’s a friendly institution in a beautiful, verdant area to live (or visit).