Juana Imelda Hernandez Mendoza is the coordinator of a business center in the Rija’tzuul Na’ooj Community Library in Guatemala. She recently participated in Plan Ceibal’s Expo Aprende in Montevideo, Uruguay. The conference focused on education and ICTs, tied in with the Uruguay government’s plan to provide a laptop for every child in school.
What’s the role of technology in libraries and community development?
Every country has its own policies, but what unifies us as public and community libraries is driving community development no matter what our capacities may be. I’ve realized how much we all have in common and that we have the same goal of moving forward. This experience has opened my eyes to the importance of technology; regardless of how we achieve results, technology will help us develop our communities. At the same time, I realize that technology is a means and not an end. We must open our minds more so that our libraries can be seen as development tools.
What did you bring home from your experience?
The event gave me more ideas for opportunities to implement children’s activities that incorporate computers and other technology. One panel I attended dealt with informal education for adolescent inmates who use laptops to access workshops on different topics for training and gaining skills.
I would also like to bring back the idea of online math programs. As a librarian, I need to share these experiences with my colleagues so that we can adapt them to our own communities. I also plan to meet with local authorities to share this idea and want to try to implement it in schools or focus groups.