Friday, November 2, 2012

First Assignment and First Impressions

Bright and early on Monday morning, our field officer, Don Rafael picked us up at the hotel. Our first stop was the Universidad Nacional Henriquez Umana. The Farmer to Farmer office is located in the university. We met a volunteer, Brit, who is taking photographs around the DR for F to F. We also met Felix who was starting his first day as a field officer. Rafael took us to the library on campus where we had a short tour of the library. It had AC, several computers available for searching the internet, a reference area, special collections, a Dominican collection, and several reading rooms. It was a nice impromptu introduction to academic libraries in the DR.

We continued on to Santiago and our assignment at the library at the Universidad ISA. Along the way we stopped for a morning coffee and some quipe. Quipe is similar to falafel but made from wheat. It was delicious. After a two hour ride we arrived at our hotel in Santiago. The area where the hotel is located is primarily commercial businesses. We had a quick lunch and then we were off to ISA.

We were struck by the grounds around the university, lush, green, and tropical. As we approached the library we were greeted by many peacocks, large and small. The peacocks run freely around the grounds and seem to like the front of the library!  The library is has a small open air lobby with two large fish tanks and some seating. One tank has many tropical fish and the other is home to Sofia, the snapping turtle. And she snaps! The day we arrived many of the fish had died due to a power outage over the weekend. Around the exterior lobby is the photocopying center of the library and the digital library which houses some PCs for students' use and they also loan out laptops and other audiovisual equipment.  The Registrar's office is also located in this area. A staircase leads you up to the second floor where the general collection is located. A reading room, small closed stack area, a circulation desk and two offices and one all purpose room make up the library.

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