Forget your worries about the future of print for a second and admire Colombia's charming outdoor reading centers.
It’s no secret that ink-and-paper books are going out of style, mostly due to the rise of e-readers but also because fewer people are reading in general. And considering that the print book industry is pretty bad for the environment, maybe that trend isn't all bad. Still, not all is lost for fans of old-fashioned books—especially in Colombia, where tiny public libraries are operated out of parks all over the country.
The program was started more than 15 years ago, and it has continued to thrive, operating 51 mini libraries in Bogotá and more than 100 throughout the country. The libraries themselves are rather remarkable—they hold about 350 books each, and they’re operated by volunteer librarians who organize activities and help kids with their homework. They’re only open 12 hours per week, but at least those hours are usually over the weekend. The program is run by the nonprofit literacy group Fundalectura in conjunction with the parks system.
Regardless of how you feel about the future of print, it’s hard not to be impressed by this innovative network of tiny public libraries. And if they manage to get people reading—not to mention spending more time outdoors—it’s hard not to hope that they’ll stick around another 15 years.
Photo via Bilingual Librarian