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In a trip this August, three engineering students from San Francisco State University had the opportunity to tour the rural town of Morrio, Nicaragua.

The community in Morrito has expressed hardship due to a lack of running water, internet and community lending libraries for children and adults. A recent MENSA study ranks Morrito as the third poorest municipality in the second poorest nation in the Americas.

Of the many projects that our team considered for community improvement, we decided that the most feasible and beneficial, under our restraints of time and money, would be the construction of a small community lending library.

Lending librarys enchance education and information transfer. The community lending library will work in conjection with the local school and act as a place where students and adults and borrow and read books. This will be the first library in the municipality of Morrito.

This library will be 5 by 10 meters (18 by 15 ft) constructed of steel beams, cinderblock walls and a tin roof. The structure is estimated to cost approximatly $1200. Construction will be overseen by a local professional contractor and completed by volunteers from San Francisco State University, UNI (Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria), and the local community.

We will be corrdinating with many entities to complete this project. UNI, an engineering university in Managua is very experienced in development projects and is helping with the design of the structure so that it is accepted within Nicaraguan building codes. We are also hoping that either Room to Read of San Francisco, California, Seeds of Learning of Nicaragua or the Hester J. Hodgon Libraries for all Program project of Rio San Juan, Nicaragua, will help us obtrain our initial collection of books and guide the development of our library policies. The students of San Francisco State University will coordinate all aspects of the project, recruit volunteers and raise the necessary funds.

A community meeting with the citizens of Morrito will be conducted in the first week of September. The structral design, a modification of the typical Nicaraguan school de will be completed by the end of September. Funds will be raised throughout October and November. Materials will be purchased and shipped in December. Construction of the structure will take place during the first 3 weeks of January. Finally, books will be shipped to the library in Februrary.

The library will be constructed such that additions could be easily added. After the comletition of the first phase of this project, a second phase consisting of a computer center will be considered as a project for the summer of 2009.