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Why a children’s library in Cusco, Peru…

Though many places throughout the world have wonderful public libraries with a children’s reading room, they basically don’t exist here. In Peru and in Cusco, there are municipal libraries that cater to adults with some reference books, newspapers, magazines, and documents; and don’t welcome, due to the material that they have, children.

Lima is home to several bookstore chains. In Cusco there are exactly two small quality bookstores where the library purchases most of its books. The prices of these books, though reasonable, are out of reach to the majority of the Cusco population. The only other option for books in Cusco are the multitude of other bookstands that sell for the most part abridged, pirated, low quality books with extremely small print. Picture books are extremely difficult to find. Conclusion: books are not very accessible to the children of Cusco.

Peru, with an 82% literacy rate -- is in the second to last place in all of Latin America as far as literacy -- is only recently mandating literacy programs in its schools. Peru, no longer considered one of the poorest countries, is still a long way from being considered a rich one. There is still an abundance of poverty and illiteracy, especially in the provinces, such as Cusco. In order for children and their families to improve their chances to overcome poverty, they need to be better educated. To succeed in school it is essential that children not only are able to read, but to read for a                           

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