Jane R. Stern (January 1, 1918 - July 29, 2009)
"There is no end to what a community library can do;
for it is beholden to no outside entity except the community it serves."
JBegun as a lending library by community activist Jane Stern in 1974, JSDCL quickly became a bilingual learning community center for reading, language, literacy and after-school programs. The library is a bilingual learning center, unique in Puerto Rico. JSDCL’s reading spaces, computer labs, children’s play area, meeting rooms, fiction, non-fiction and reference collections allow for a variety of activities for children, teens, adults, and seniors from Dorado’s richly varied population.
As the library’s mission has evolved in the digital age, the major goals of its community outreach to underserved populations is to provide programs that support, reading, learning and supplement and enrich the education of public school students; to provide computer training to Puerto Rico citizens from children to seniors through courses ranging from basic use to an advanced IT curriculum; and to provide access to computers and the internet through our computer labs, laptops and reliable Wi-Fi.
Legislative funding has enabled the library to open six “after-school” satellite libraries in public elementary rural pockets of Dorado, Vega Alta and Vega Baja. These libraries echo JSDCL goals with programs for adults and children, early education play areas, children’s books and toys, computers and connection via reliable internet to JSDCL’s digital resources.
Satellites offer various programs and services such as:
- children’s books
- early education play area;
- computers, and a rapid internet connection;
- online resources such as Britannica;
- free programs for adults and children per neighborhood surveys (such as
This year courses and summer programs for kids in June helped bring attendance up to xxxxxxx visits among the satellites and allowed us to refer clients requesting English or Computer use classes to the satellite offering these courses during the academic year.
Nearly 85% of recipients were children under eighteen years of age and 15% were the elderly. For many recipients, 79% of whom live below the poverty line, the libraries bring resources and books otherwise they never dream to attain.
But what is also staggering is how the efforts can truly make a difference by putting books and reading resources like computers and Internet access into the hands of underfunded communities creating a culture of reading and a sense of community and purpose. The satellites are a peaceful and safe spaces in communities that have complex social problems such as high incidence of criminal activities, dysfunctional families and a high rate of single parents.
JSDCL programs provide readers who may never have had books to call their own a reading-based space and resources. Is the satellites goal to help develop the foundation and skills the communities need to help their members to be successful in life. With a special emphasis on low-income and at-risk children, JSDCL computer laboratories bring their users access to some contemporary and classic books and stories, including the search engine Destiny.
The innovation and change that these programs and activities have achieved in the communities are remarkable. People of all ages flock to libraries to search for bibliographic resources, help in their assignments or chores and to carry in book to read. During the past Storm Maria, libraries were instrumental in helping to restore normalcy to our communities. While in the communities there was no electric power our satellites offered to the community the opportunity to provide reading, tutoring and safe spaces. These satellites became places to get away from the terrible situations behind the atmospheric disaster. And the reading offered spaces to vent the everyday frustrations of lack of basic services.
In 2019, JSDCL won two prestigious national awards:
· Library of Congress Best Practices Award for our satellite program
· Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recognition
In 2001, JSDCL garnered the Ángel Ramos Foundation’s Tina Hills Community Service Prize and in 2008, our first IMLS National Medal.