Although there are no official figures, Playa del Carmen seems to reflect Mexico’s tendency as a whole to have problems reading. National programs such as La Hora del Cuento (Storytime) and Círculos de Lectura (Reading Circles) have inspired a need for similar programs for children and young adults at the local level.
According to the director of schools and libraries in Solidaridad, Javier Basurto Campos, the primary strategy to boost reading in the community is via the program La Biblioteca en Tu Escuela (Your School Library) - a mobile library that takes books to education centers.
He commented that the problem is the culture, many people are not familiar with the process of finding and checking out books in libraries.
It is important to remember that Mexicans on average read 2.8 books per year and only two percent of the population has a permanent reading habit. One way to promote reading is to implement programs that involve parents reading with their children.
Although there is still a lot of progress to be made, Basurto Campos said that in 2013 -when current government leaders took office- they managed to increase the average number of visitors to libraries from 800 to almost 1,500.
Playa is no different from other towns in Quintana Roo; as a result, the state interchange program has created an opportunity to exchange books with other communities.
As an additional incentive to visit libraries, a series of workshops are being implemented; for example, courses on Maya and German language.
“There are not any numbers on how many books are read on average here in the city. We are currently focusing on children’s reading, and we hope their parents are encouraged to start a reading community,” said Basurto Campos.
The head of Culture for Solidaridad also has implemented strategies to promote a love of reading among adults, such as theLibro Olvidado (Forgotten Book) program, which leaves various books in cafeterias, public transportation, malls, and other places.
“It is a very simple program. Instead of having books, which were donated to the municipality, sit on a shelf where nobody takes them, they are out on the street,” explained Luis Ernesto López Vargas, head of Casa de la Cultura in Solidaridad.
If you find one of these books, the best thing to do is read it and share it with others by “forgetting it” in some public place.
Mexicans read of the population
Playa’s municipal library is located at Juarez Ave and 15th St., and in Cancun it is on Chichen Itza Ave. and He-Zaba St. / Photos:Palcoquintanarroense