Backgrounder on Public Access to Information in Peru Library Landscape General Information Public libraries are only present in 40% of Peru’s districts, 729 total; heavily concentrated in urban areas - exist in few other cities outside Lima (TASCHA 2008, 2009) o Little information in languages other than Spanish available o Public libraries are old and outdated, lack political support o Not perceived to be key sources of information Generally non-circulating (due to theft), a few exceptions in Lima (TASCHA, World Encyclopedia) Consist of small, donated collections and staff with little to no formal training in librarianship; exceptions exist in large urban centers (World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services, Robert Wedgeworth, 1993). o Donations to smaller public libraries are made by foreign parties and organizations and by the National Library . o Donations go overwhelmingly to school libraries, though evened out with public libraries by the writing of the report (SNB Memory Management Document 2005) 13/25 Municipal Libraries have Internet connectivity (SNB Workplan 2007-2010). City Council of Lima announced in early February 2012 plans to build cultural centers, which will be part-wind farm, as well as part-library/amphitheater/ computer room/chess room. The project will reconstitute three current wind zones in the municipality, and will be sponsored by the municipal government of Lima. Modeled after similar project in Medillin, Colombia ("Cultural Centers in Lima", on Libraries and Literature, a blog by Peruvian librarian and author Fernando J. Pebe, 3 February 2012). Textbooks comprise more than 50% of the collections in a quarter of public libraries in Peru since school libraries are few and far between (1984 UNESCO Study, cited in "The Social Function of the Public Library"). o While this statistic may be outdated, TASCHA’s more recent work echoes this sentiment: “Public libraries should in theory serve different segments of population under their jurisdiction, but they are mostly oriented to school students.” Book published in July 2011: La Biblioteca Publica en el Perú: creación y desarrollo (The Public Library in Peru: Creation and Development) http://bibliospb.blogspot.com/ - can’t find it online, but we may want to check this out/get in touch with this librarian-blogger National Library (from article on the opening of the new library building) Non-circulating Received a $5 million loan from Spain to complete construction of new national library building, regarded as one of the most technologically advanced libraries in Latin America
Directorate of Promotion and Development of Public Libraries exists under National Library structure to encourage public library usage, though there is little evidence of such effort online. o Works with Ministry of Education to provide training to Librarians The Sistema Nacional de Bibliotecas (SNB), run by the National Library, is the governing body of the library system (SNB Workplan 2007-2010). o It coordinates with public libraries to build capacity, provide bibliographic resources, and develop standards in order to make resources and services available to the public. o Generally a unifying structure between National Library and Municipal Libraries, which oversee the budgets of the public libraries in their municipality. o Goals of the 2007-2011 workplan are limited to digitization of catalogues, and unifying systems and policies of the municipal libraries.
Legal and Budgetary Status of Public Libraries National Library oversees Regional and Municipal Libraries, which oversee Local/Public Libraries o Besides state-funded public libraries, there are parochial, NGO, and indigenous/community sponsored libraries (SNB Workplan 2007-2010). Public libraries are funded by municipal budgets through each municipality’s Office of Culture and Education, which does not publish individual budgets. o Library budgets usually only cover infrastructure maintenance and salaries, budgetary constraints affect level and amount of staff training (TASCHA 2008). o Municipalities have low budgets to begin with, except for those with mines or other economically desirable features, and as such usually spend their money contributing to immediately visible infrastructure projects that will garner public favor. o Since public libraries lack support at the national and local political level, as well as among the general public, municipalities delegate funding for them, and as such are closing many public libraries in their respective municipalities. o Progress in the economy is not reflected in library investments, while economic downturns do affect library budgets adversely.
(Budget comparison from TASCHA 2008)
The Law for the Democratization of Books and Fostering of Reading was passed in October 2003 and “states the public interest in the production and protection of books, in fostering reading as the basis of scientific and literary creation, as well as the development of the publishing industry” All government-created policy concerning libraries focuses on reading and cultural preservation, not development TASCHA writes: “There are not national policies oriented to improve infrastructure and information resources in public libraries; National Library System tries to support public libraries, but it does not have enough staff and resources to do that.
Librarian Training and Development In January 2008, a law was passed dictating professional practice of librarians, establishing that libraries with more than 3000 volumes should employ licensed librarians. This was perceived to be a prohibitive measure, as large local libraries do not have a budget to hire a professional librarian (TASCHA 2008). Librarians Association of Peru offers professional development course, part of IFLA’s BSLA project
Info Access Landscape (From TASCHA 2008 unless otherwise noted) 75% of Internet usage occurs through ‘cabinas’ (Internet cafes) o There are 31,600 cabinas total, only 1000 in non-urban locations. o Cabinas were introduced through Red Cientifica Peruana (a public service operator specializing in the development of telecommunications) in the mid 90s; RCP trained small entrepenuers to install cabinas as “pure business and pure internet connection.” 3
o Recently the Peruvian government, under the auspices of the Fund of Investment in Telecommunications (FITEL) had plans to expand location of cabinas to non-urban areas, and hoped they would number 5000 by 2011. o Some cabinas offer training as part of their business strategies. Generally frequented by young people, as older demographics lack computer skills. Telecenters (72 total) are small in number and face sustainability problems, as they are governmentally funded and must compete with for-profit cabinas. However, they currently serve mostly rural populations, filling a need for connectivity otherwise ignored. Cell phone and landline access has been growing tremendously since 2006; currently 29.115 million cell phones (ranked 33rd), and 3.16 million landlines (ranked 49th) (CIA World Factbook – Peru) o According to USAID, about 50% of household heads make phone calls at least once a week, 20% uses the phone less often (generally 1-3 times a month), and roughly 30% never make phone calls. Special libraries (106 total) are concentrated in Lima with a few outside of the city; have highly specialized and educated staffs. However, the information they provide is not always appropriate in terms of format or language for the majority of the population. o Special libraries are oriented to groups of people interested on their particular issue. In most of the cases those are groups of practitioners, professionals or students. Howeve r, some of those libraries are also oriented to provide information and communication services to underserved communities focusing on health issues, women’s information, etc. Few libraries provide ICT access in any form. ICT access is inequitable, heavily affected by gender, age, income While government ICT policies intend to promote e-government, there is little evidence of the growth of such initiatives. There are several e-government online portals, encompassing citizen services, the activities of parliament, economic transparency, and employment. According to USAID’s first interim report on the Last Mile Initiative (described below), Peruvians use the internet most to access information about Health, Business, and Job Opportunities.
Government ICT Policies and Programs “Unfortunately, most ICT initiatives in Peru have failed to meet their goals due to highly optimistic proposals motivated by successes achieved in developed countries, without realizing the time and effort required to fit such initiatives in a complex bureaucratic structure and a particular culture of the public sector.” (From the paper “ICT Policy and Perspectives of Human Development in Latin American: The Peruvian experience,” by Edgar Ferar, 2009) 4
Peruvian Digital Agenda – Overarching program for ICT, info access, e-government development. Launched in 2004. Commission for Monitoring and Evaluation Plan Development of Information Society (CODESI) administers Peru’s Digital Agenda (Agenda Digital Peruana). The Digital Agenda Works toward universal ICT access to promote economic, social and cultural development. Working groups are as follows: Infrastructure necessary for development of Information Society, Development of Human Capacities, Development and application in social programs, Development of Production sectors and services, E-Government, Processes of World Summit on Information Society. La Agenda Digital 2.0 – Launched in December 2011. It has eight goals: o Ensure that the rural population has access to the information society o Integrate, expand and ensure skills development for access and public participation in the information society o Ensure better opportunities for use and adoption of ICTs to ensure social inclusion, access to social services to enable the full exercise of citizenship and human development in full compliance with the Millennium Development Goals. o Promote research, development and innovation in ICT and its use by society based on national priorities development o Increase productivity and competitiveness through innovation in the production of goods and services, development and application of ICT. o Develop a competitive, innovative, national ICT industry with international presence. o Promote a people-oriented public administration o Ensure that the Peruvian Digital Agenda 2.0 is inserted in the local, regional, sectoral and national agendas, to develop the Information Society. One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Program – (World Bank EduTech Blog, Inter-American Development Bank, OLPC Website) Project began in June 2007 in a small village in the Andes, was met with success and rolled out on a larger scale Directed by the Peruvian Ministry of Education The MOE’s stated objectives for the OLPC program include: 1) Improving the quality of public primary education, especially that of children of the remotest places of extreme poverty; 2) Developing skills in curriculum design considered by students of primary level education through pedagogical application of XO laptops; 3) Train and provide continuous updating of teachers in pedagogical use of the XO laptop. (The MOE has trained some 115,000 teachers in using the XO.)
Largest “1-to-1” computing initiative in a developing country; Peru has more than 300,000 XOs deployed in more than four thousand schools and is currently the world’s largest OLPC deployment. It has some 2.7million children in the OLPC target range of 6-12 years. Challenges of OLPC program in Peru include: geographically isolated communities, mountainous terrain, poor communities, indigenous languages In 2009, Peru shared the UNESCO Prize for the Use of Information Technologies and Communication in Education for its One Laptop Per Child program. The two winning projects were chosen from a total of 67 projects submitted by 47 states. First report (via IADB) shows little difference between students with and without laptops; many cannot take them home due to fear of damage, and when they do, they can rarely use the Internet on them due to low ICT infrastructure
Fund of Investment in Telecommunications (FITEL) (From a paper detailing ICT development in Peru) The FITEL is managed by a Board chaired by the head of the Ministry of Transport and Communications and composed of the head of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Chairman of the Board of Supervisory Agency for Private Investment in Telecommunications OSIPTEL. Gathers 1% of gross annual incomes of final and carrier service operators. FITEL funds the provision of telecommunications services in rural areas and places considered to be preferred interest. Projects include a payphone program for rural areas and public internet cafe program. These projects are considered the Peruvian model of access to ICTs and a viable model for universal access in developing countries. Last Mile Initiative (Same Source As Above) Sponsored by USAID. The project is being implemented by Voxiva, the local subsidiary of Voxiva International. Its aim is to expand telecommunications connectivity to isolated rural areas, emphasizing the development of financially sustainable business models. Also conducts assessments of ICT infrastructure in rural areas, particularly as related to education and health. According to the USAID study of the Jauja region, o Found that there is an average of 3 computers per school; computers are old and rarely connected to the Internet. o None of the health centers are connected to the Internet, health professionals regularly use the Internet in the cabinas.
Public Access Partners Peruvian Ministry of Culture’s “Promolibro” program promotes reading in schools, creates pop-up libraries in parks and other public spaces, establishes community libraries where public support exists, and trains educators, librarians, and volunteers. 6
o However, the government doesn’t set these programs up without a community member first applying for them. Though there is evidence that some programs have been established under PromoLibro, their inception requires a lot of work on behalf of community members. A study on “Experiences of social movements in favor of reading comprehension” (2003, Patricia Fernández) mentions the existence of approximately 27 programs created for the promotion of reading in Lima. Such initiatives come mainly from private promoters (private schools, publishing houses, cultural centers, NGOs, etc.) (From The Development and Stimulation of Reading...) Peace Corps is now working to restore a community library in Peru, has built other community libraries with total readership of 7000 NGO CEDRO [Roughly translated: The Information and Education Center for the Prevention of Drug Abuse]- primarily an anti-drug-use organization, but also works on strengthening libraries in at risk areas in Peru o Runs book drives to benefit libraries in Lima o Use community libraries as anti-drug awareness centers, train librarians and strengthen programs: Drug Prevention and Information Centers (Community Libraries) Agricultural Information System (SIA) in the Huaral Valley – Enables farmers to obtain fast and simple, useful information to determine what to plant, what price to sell, to which financial institutions use and other issues important to improve their competitiveness. Built “Valley Irrigation Commissions” with computers with Internet access, call centers. Network of Rural Libraries – “The Peruvian libraries network, Bibliotecas Rurales, is an educational and cultural movement incorporating literacy activities, local language publications, reading and learning. The organisation encourages reading and in particular the practical application of what has been read. This is important in a context where reading is a shared process of social interaction and reflection and not merely a solitary activity. The organisation takes a community-led approach with elected leadership and their 600 libraries are usually located in homes and staffed by volunteers” (Summary from BookAid Report)
Questions for Further Research: Who donates books to the public libraries of Peru? How much does the government spend on Cabinas/Telecenters? How much does the government spend on the Digital Agenda? Is there a plan for implementation of its goals? These backgrounders was prepared as a part of the Beyond Access Initiative and attempt to provide an accurate picture of the state of access to libraries, ICT venues, and other sources of information in the states they profile. After establishing the historical background of these venues, special attention is paid to innovative library and ICT programs and partnerships that seek to break down the unique barriers to access faced by each country. The backgrounders used the most recent information available, encompassing academic and government reports, news articles, and commentary from bloggers and other online resources.