Region, Nosara

Letter to the editor – Some Details of the Library Finances

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All of the money that comes in to the library for special projects or for the yearly budget comes from private donors. Most of these donors are full- or part-time foreign residents of Nosara (North Americans, Canadians, Germans, Swiss, Austrians, Italians, and French); however, we also receive donations from tourists passing through, vacationers, especially repeat visitors, and from people in the United States who believe that a library is fundamental to the growth and development of a community.  No funds are received from the Costa Rican government, now or in the past.

For every dollar received for the yearly budget, 61% goes to paying the salaries of the seven employees of the library: librarian, assistant librarian, janitor, gardener, local accountant, San Jose accountant and lawyer for “protocolización” (authentification protocol) of the Foundation every year.  Basic services such as electricity, phone, water, etc., take 10%. Consumables such as paper, ink for printers, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc., take 2.5%. Special programs such as Seniors Club, holiday special events, courses for the staff for improving skills and other special activities take 3%. The remaining 22.5% is used for building maintenance, air-conditioner replacement and repair, computer updates, light fixtures, fan replacement and books.

Some of the courses that the library gives bring in a small amount of money but each course has to be subsidized by the library as the income never even comes close to covering the cost of the activity.  For example, during the month of January every year, four university students come from Middlebury, Vermont to teach English. The course this past year offered 24 hours of class for 5,000 colones ($9,25) per person with 63 people attending.  The library took in 315,000 colones ($585) but the costs to the library were as follows:  50,000 colones ($92.60) for transportation of the supervisor of the course, 166,000 colones ($307) for the basic services such as internet, electricity, etc., and 35,000 colones ($64.80) was spent on the cleaning and paper and special audio-visuals the teachers needed. Two members of the staff had to dedicate a part of their time to helping students and teachers, an equivalent of 113,000 colones ($209) in wages.  We have not mentioned the teachers who came from the U.S. to teach this course. They paid their own airfare to Costa Rica and their food and apartment rent for a month.  Their contribution is always enormous!  

At present, the library is offering beginning computer classes. These cost 3,000 colones ($5.55) a month for 16 hours of classes during the month, or a cost of less than 200 colones ($0.37) per class.  The costs to the library continue, especially as extra electricity is used. The teacher of these classes, in this instance, donates her time and does not receive any remuneration.

The objective of the library in all of these endeavors is to offer classes that can provide our citizens with the potential to improve their lives.  There is not now, nor has there ever been, a desire to make a profit. Classes are affordable so no one in town can say they cannot learn English or computer science or anything else we may offer, because they could not afford it. The Library Board of Directors and staff are committed to continuing to provide educational experiences that will benefit the entire local community. We are grateful to those generous people outside of the local community who support our efforts with their donations.

Last year, more than 14,000 people walked through the doors of David Kitson Library. Number increases every year.  We know that this is because the library serves the community well.  We are happy to answer questions about our program and services and to hear ideas and suggestions for how we might do more and do things better.  We welcome new visitors and users to take advantage of all the Library has to offer.