Residents and Students of Benque Viejo del Carmen and surrounding communities will now be able to enhance their knowledge in a spacious and pleasant environment as a result of a new public library, which will be officially inaugurated on Thursday morning by Hon. Erwin Contreras, Minister of Economic Development, Commerce, Industry and Consumer Protection and Area Representative for Cayo West.


The new library is housed in a ferro-concrete building with approximately 4,000 sq feet of space. It has a store room, a computer room, an office, a male and female bathroom block, a circulation desk, a kitchenette and ramp for persons with disabilities. The library also has a reference, fiction and non-fiction and Spanish sections for adults, a national collection of local publications, and a children’s section.

Construction of the library was financed by the Government of Belize at an estimated cost of $400,000. The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives also contributed some funds towards the furniture and bookshelves.

Prior to construction, the Benque Viejo Public Library was housed in a crowded area at the Benque Viejo Town Council building. However, since moving to its new location, the library now operates in a spacious and welcoming environment and the facility is now able to offer a number of educational programs, such as story reading especially for school children. In addition to its educational programs, the library also offers computer, internet, photo copying and document scanning services to the general public. Since becoming operational earlier this year, the new Library is visited by an average of 5,000 persons per month.

The project became a reality through the efforts of Hon Erwin Contreras, working closely with the Benque Viejo Town Council, Central Government, the Benque Viejo Library Advisory Committee and the Belize National Library Service and Information System.

The main address at the official opening ceremony will be delivered by Hon Erwin Contreras, Minister of Economic Development, who will also present nine new computers to the staff of the Benque Viejo Public Library. Other speakers will include Mr Nicholas Ruiz, Mayor of Benque Viejo del Carmen Town, Mrs Brenda Armstrong, Chairlady of the Belize National Library Service and Information System as well as library personnel.

A cultural presentation by Grupo Euforia will also be made and the local marimba will play the national anthem during the ceremony, which will also be attended by numerous school children in the area.

The Guardian