Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Library Bytes: Biblioburro

I am starting a new feature with this post called Library Bytes, where I will write about anything related to the magical world of libraries. Our first Library Byte has to do with an article in The New York Times last week by Simon Romero called "Acclaimed Colombian Institution Has 4,800 Books and 10 Legs." Code word: Biblioburro. This is one of those heart-warming stories that makes you admire the resolve of people and recognize the goodness that does exist in the world. For the past decade Luis Soriano of La Gloria, Colombia, a school teacher who makes $350 a month, has taken it upon himself to help promote reading by loading up books onto his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto (you can't make this stuff up!), and bringing the books to children and adults in the mountain villages of Colombia. And to think there are communities in the US that can't even support bookmobiles. Soriano reads to them and loans them the books. When he first started he had only 70 books, but now he's up to 4,800, and he's trying to have a public library built next to his home. Why is he doing it? Because he believes "that the act of taking books to people who do not have them can somehow improve this impoverished region, and perhaps Colombia." He deserves a medal from every literacy organization and library organization, not only for encouraging reading, but making this unbelievable effort to bring reading to people who don't have the resources to buy their own books.

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