Thursday, January 15, 2015

Library Resources for Banana Producers in the Dominican Republic

One of Banelino's goals is to have a working library for the use of the Banelino staff, banana producers, laborers, and family members. I have been taking an inventory of material in the library and have weeded a substantial amount of material that is not appropriate to the mission of this library.


Last Friday was payday for the producers and laborers. Banelino's offices were busy with processing the payments to the producers. I took the opportunity to visit with some of the producers and laborers who were waiting their turn to pick up their checks. Many were women producers, some came with their children, and others were Haitian laborers. Talking with them, I learned what their idea was of a library. (Keep in mind, three times last week I passed by the National Library branch in Mao (at different times) and each time it was closed, no signs posted on when it would be open. It is fair to say that there is no public library available to the residents in Mao region.) Most of the Banelino members I spoke to said they would love to see a library that would be open to their children so they would a have a place to do their homework.  Others would like to learn more about technology. Others thought it would be great for their children to have a place to go on the weekend to learn and read. Most of the producers suggested information on increasing their banana production.

This week I visited several grade schools near the producers' fincas and found that the schools do not have a library for the the whole school, but rather, each classroom has a small collection of textbooks and a few storybooks for the children.

IDENE, Mao
Anima, Mao region, all of the students are Haitian immigrants

Several things I will need to keep in mind while preparing my recommendations for Banelino are: library hours that will work with the producers' and laborers' hours, material in Kreyol as most of the laborers and their families are Haitian immigrants, material for the beginning reader appropriate for new adult readers, phone apps as most people have cell phones, and basic computer classes for those who do not own computers.

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