Five libraries from the garbage

I can’t let Halloween go. That’s the only excuse I have for not updating my blog since the beginning of October. I promise I’ve been blogging in my mind everyday, but as the great Neil Gaiman would say, “it doesn’t count.”
Before I blog about the most amazing Christmas of my life, or my new nanowrimo experience, my trip to Argentina, the most beautiful bookstore in the world, or a million other things, I want to share the story of Jose Alberto Gutierrez, a humble garbage truck driver from Bogota, Colombia.
His life changed when he opened a box, and saw Anna Karenina was in it, along with several other books. He took the box home, and his mission of rescuing books from the garbage started.
Since that day in the year 2000, he’s rescued more than 12,000 books and he has opened five libraries in humble neighborhoods. The first one started from his home, in his wife’s sewing shop. One of the libraries is operated by a 12 year old who volunteered.
The libraries also function as community cultural centers, with reading groups, theater, puppet shows, etc.
This man, who didn’t have the opportunity of a formal education, became a promoter of literacy. The libraries don’t receive any kind of government subsidies or help. They’re there because of Jose Gutierrez’s desire to share the books that for other people were garbage, and because of that desire to learn and curiosity that defines as humans.


  1. Yamile says:

    Thank you guys for stopping by and leaving a comment!

    Ian: I was in Argentina for a month, and took a picture of a boy sitting on a street corner that made me think of yours of the girl laughing in BsAs.

    Cris: Te tengo que llamar!!!

    Valerie: Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you liked the story.

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