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Mobile libraries

The citizens of the city of Campinas – close to 1 million inhabitants spread throughout 850 neighborhoods – have only four public libraries available to them: the central, one children's and two district libraries located in Vila Industrial and in the Souzas District. Aiming to expand the network, a project from the Catholic Pontificate University (PUC/Campinas), made possible through FAPESP, is going to identify where the potential readers live and what type of reading they prefer – providing evidence so that the city Department of Education can implant sub-libraries in strategic points of the city and of the outskirts.

The southwest region of Campinas has the population who least attend libraries, according to a pre-test carried out in the first phase of the project. As it is a poor region, this was not a surprise to Else Benetti Marques Válio, the project coordinator and a researcher who is integrating the research into her master's program of Library Economics and the Science of Information Technology at the Library School of PUC, Campinas. “Our goal is to promote the education of the citizen, bringing to all the possibility of reading”, she defined.

In the pilot phase of the project, two library buses will regularly travel a route defined by the PUC researchers and by the staff of the Department of Education involved in the project. The city administration is going to purchase the buses and FAPESP is going to equip them with stands, books (6,000 works in each) and even a grouping of three desks with chairs – the local inhabitants will be able to read under a canopy. The mobile libraries will allow for the identification of community areas which may house sub-libraries. The buses will only be on the roads next year.

Until then, the project will define the reader preferences and map out potential readers in the districts. The departure point is the concrete situation of the potential readers. “If it is in an industrial region, we will supply them with the respective literature”, says Else. “However, we will not stop respecting the taste of the reader in general for the simple pleasure of reading.”