Biblioburro or The Library Donkey

Growing up with books and the magical stories within them may be something we take for granted but, for many children, this is not the case – especially in countries such as Columbia, a state that suffers from poverty and political instability and is particularly famous for its extensive drug trade. According to UNESCO, more than 413,000 children do not have access to basic primary education there. This is why I was very impressed when I heard about the life and work of Louis Humberto Soriano – better known as Biblioburro. In 2000 he started a spirited venture to encourage the education of children and foster their literacy; and so began the story of ‘Soriano’s donkey library.’

Every weekend, he set off with his two donkeys Alpha and Beto to visit children in and around the North Columbian villages of La Gloria and El Dificil with his mobile library, helping them with their homework and providing them with those magical things we call books; through him, the children experienced a world of entertainment, excitement, pleasure and knowledge they could never otherwise have even imagined. Starting off with only a few titles bought from his own money, the teacher eventually managed to establish a substantial collection and has now become a vital source of joy and inspiration in the lives of those he visits.

In my opinion it is the work of those everyday heros that really makes a difference to people’s lives, bringing literacy to the remotest parts of our world and to those who otherwise would never have the opportunity to learn or discover the pleasure of reading. These are the kind of initiatives that inspire Oxford in its bid for the UNESCO World Book Capital Award in 2014, since the city is planning a broad programme on promoting literacy and piquing children’s interest in books and reading.

By the way – as a Trafficker of High-Grade Knowledge, Soriano became the protagonist of a short comic adaption featuring his fascinating adventures as a mobile librarian. Read it here!

2 Responses to “Biblioburro or The Library Donkey”
  1. What a beautiful and uplifting story…some people are just good plain and simple..ELiza Keating

  2. readingdelights says:

    Hi Eliza,

    this is the very thing I thought when I heard about Soriano and his work!


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