An Example of Development and Innovation: Biblioteca Nacional de Perú

The traditional concept of  a library has changed. A library is no longer solely a space for books and encyclopedia research. Libraries have evolved and have become true spaces for community cohesion. They have been filled up with colors and opportunities for all those who desire to learn, not only through books but also through technology and with the advice of specialized staff. This change is not something new in Latin America; the territory is full of innovative libraries that work to achieve the development goals.

Such is the case of Biblioteca Nacional de Perú, Peru’s national library, a Beyond Access member that promotes the initiative ‘Bibliotecas para el Futuro’ (Libraries for the Future) through the National Library System. There have been two pilot projects for this program: one in Los Aquijes and the other in La Tinguiña. In both places, libraries where built so that the Peruvian population could access scientific, technological and cultural knowledge in an inclusive way.

The National Library System makes a very important work of decentralization and inclusion in Peru. During this year, it has visited the Ancash, Puno, Huancavelica, Loreto, Ica and Junín departments, programming diagnostic and coordination visits in more than 150 districts with the purpose of gathering networks of public libraries throughout the county.

The challenge is big because a lot of municipalities still don’t have a library. That’s why the National Library System is working on a rigorous plan to bring access to information to all Peruvians.

The library staff is key in terms of development because they become the team that trains and guides library users in the services the library provides. In the National Library System this is a clear issue, that’s why they are proposing to offer librarians a continuing education, facilitating the formation of networks to share experiences and the constant motivation for leadership.

Even though Peru already counts with two education programs for librarians that teach them how to respond to the new needs of the users, the demand exceeds the offer in the country. This is why the National Library, governing body of the National Library System, is preparing the creation of the ‘Instituto Superior Tecnológico de Bibliotecarios’ (Superior Technological Institute of Librarians). The Institute aims to provide its students with the technical knowledge they need for a library, meeting the demand on Library Management professionals for Peru. The Institute is thought to start working next year.