Boquete is blessed to have a wonderful library, thanks to a generous doner and others who raised over a million dollars to construct a 3-story facility. It holds the distinction of being one of the few lending libraries in the country. Until coming to Panamá, I thought all libraries loaned out their books. Such is not the case in Panamá. I find this hard to comprehend.
There are more than 40 libraries and branches in the country. The largest is the National Library of Panama, a branch of the Ministry of Education’s library system, with over 200,000 volumes. The Biblioteca Pública Morales has 280,000 volumes, while the University of Panama library has over 267,000 volumes. All of these libraries are located in Panamá City. Lastly, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Balboa has 44,000 volumes.
The Boquete Library has a growing collection of books. As of 2020, the catalog totaled over 26,500 books, with 30% being in English. There are also a few holdings in French, German, and Italian. This library is so much more than books. The intent is to have a place of pleasure and discovery; it is not intended to be a research library. Books are taken to the local schools for children and youth to use.
The facilities offer a meeting room and hall for monthly rotating art exhibits, classical music series, and community talks. There are English classes for both children and adults and story times for children. There are computers throughout the library as well as Wi-Fi being available for personal computer use. Books can even be checked out via the Internet and picked up later.
When an architectural design for the library was created, it was modeled as a cross between a lending library and a Barnes and Noble bookstore. This meant the space would be bright and open, allowing for a comfortable and welcoming mode. This has proven to be true, as the number of users and patrons is high for the size of the community.
The Boquete Library is often ranked as the best public library in the country. Residents of Boquete are proud of their library as they should be.
Fact: The Boquete Library was the first lending library in Panamá
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