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Here’s Why This Colombian Garbage Collector Is Known As The ‘Lord Of Books’ In Bogotá

03/13/17 Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez

From the Garbage to the BookshelfA garbage collector in Colombia has his own library for children. All the books come from the trash.

Posted by AJ+ on Monday, February 27, 2017

The “Lord of Books” is making sure children have access to books.

José Alberto Gutiérrez has been collecting books for 20 years as a garbage collector in Bogotá, Colombia. Gutiérrez might only have a second-grade education but that hasn’t stopped him from recognizing the importance of literacy for the future of Bogota’s disadvantaged youths. According to AP, Bogotá, a city of more than 8 million people has 19 public libraries but they are all located far away from the poorer neighborhoods in the city. The lack of access for children’s books in Gutiérrez’s own neighborhood in south Bogotá convinced him to open his own library from the rescued books he has collected. Gutiérrez credits his love and interest in books to his mother reading to him even though she was not able to afford to keep him in school.

“The first book that I found was ‘Anna Karenina’ by Leo Tolstoy,” Gutiérrez told AJ+. “And that little book set the flame and this snowball that has never stopped rolling.”

This man is legit the Robin Hood of books in Bogotá.

Since finding that first book, Gutiérrez has collected more than 20,000 books.

AJ+ / Facebook
CREDIT: AJ+ / Facebook

These books were turned into a library filling every room in his house, according to AJ+. The name of the library, The Strength Of Words, of course.

The children in Gutiérrez’s neighborhood are allowed in every weekend to browse, read, and open their minds to new worlds.

AJ+ / Facebook
CREDIT: AJ+ / Facebook

“This should be in all neighborhoods, on each corner of every neighborhood, in all the towns, in all departments, and all the rural areas,” Gutierrez told AP. “Books are our salvation and that is what Colombia needs.”

Gutiérrez doesn’t see himself as a savior. Instead, he sees himself as a bridge for children in poor neighborhoods in Colombia.

AJ+ / Facebook
CREDIT: AJ+ / Facebook

❤️ 📚 ❤️


(H/T: AJ+)

READ: This Boricua Is Bringing An Indie Bookstore To Her Neighborhood Of 1.4 Million

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