Digital Libraries in Bolivia
Jumping into the digital world
My country, Bolivia, has been in a state of crisis for a long time before the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, it could be said that Bolivia has been in crisis since the beginning of its existence. Libraries have fought this crisis and worked to make a better society, but if librarians are unable to go to their workplaces to organise and share information (in relation to both the pandemic and the social crisis), what can they do?
By Ramiro Rico
I was considering this question along with some friends (CPCIB) last year, when claims of electoral fraud in the 2019 general election provoked unrest across the entire country and violence escalated to a level never seen before. With this question came another questions. How can a librarian use the internet? Are librarians prepared to use the internet? How can we find relevant information for our users? How can we fight misinformation? What will happen if our country descends into a civil war and we can’t afford the internet?
We started to design a workshop – an initiative which I was leading. The social crisis began to calm down, but then the COVID-19 crisis emerged. We used our work to launch some seminars and workshops. But there are widespread problems with libraries and the digital world in Bolivia.
How can a country with one of the highest rates of functional illiteracy jump from poverty into the digital world?
The main question I ask myself is, how can a country with one of the highest rates of functional illiteracy jump from poverty into the digital world? Is it safe to jump without any conception of what the consequences might be? I don’t know the answers, but I am sure that with the help of librarians and digital libraries our society can not only jump, but use the internet, social media and digital libraries to become a better country in all respects. I know that in spite of all the difficulties and issues we face, libraries and librarians will be more important than ever.