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In a trip in August 2008, three engineering students from San Francisco State University had the opportunity to tour the rural town of Morrio, Nicaragua.
The community in Morrito has experienced hardship due to a lack of clean running water, internet and community lending libraries for children and adults. The government of Nicaragua reports that 34% of the population lives in extreme poverty at less than 1$ per day.
Of the many projects that our team considered for community improvement, we decided that the most feasible would be the construction of a small community lending library.
Lending libraries enhance education and information transfer. The community lending library will work in conjunction 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 which has a population of 6000.
This library will be 6 by 10 meters (18 by 30 ft) constructed of steel beams, cinder block walls and a tin roof. The structure is estimated to cost $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 coordinating 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 can be constructed with local skills and materials and is accepted within Nicaraguan building codes. We are also hoping that one of several existing library charities we have identified will help us obtain 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 structural design, a modification of the typical Nicaraguan school designs 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 February.
The library will be constructed such that additions could be easily added. After the competition of the first phase of this project, second and third phases consisting of a computer center, and a well for the community will be pursued.