Ministry of Culture offers free digital library to Colombian homes

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While for many who have access to a credit card and online platforms such as iBooks, Kindle or Amazon, the idea of downloading a book is part of our interconnected everyday lives. But for many families who reside in Colombia’s most remote communities, access to literary works often entails traveling long distances to the nearest public library, and even if access to books is a possibility, many readers may not know which works to choose from.

Within the framework of the Bogotá International Book Fair – FILBo – the Ministry of Culture and Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia launched a digital initiative to offer more than 150 Spanish-language books, free of charge, to Colombian households. The joint project between the Ministry and National Library called Biblioteca Digital Familiar (BDF), includes books for all generations, as well as works for the experienced reader or novice. The books are available by scanning a QR code printed on laminated cards and which will be distributed to over 200,000 families. The QR code can be scanned by any electronic device and redirects readers to the free download pages of the National Library’s database.

“The promotion of reading in the national territory is vital for the development of our country. That is why, we will have made an extensive selection of books available to Colombians, carefully chosen to be enjoyed by families, and which, in turn, can help bring many families closer together,” said the Minister of Culture Angélica Mayolo.

With the slogan “Download, read and share,” families are encouraged to downloads their favorite titles and pass on the card to others, in order to expand access to reading materials and audiences that may have never borrowed a book from a public library.  “We took great care of looking for contents that were not only literary, but texts on self-care, nutrition, and guides on how to read and find titles of interest,” said Diana Restrepo, director of the Biblioteca Nacional.

The special page of the National Library is subdivided into 5 categories, beginning with Mis primeros pasos lectores, easy reading and illustrated books for persons wanting to strengthen their literacy capabilities, as well as a section titled Descubre mundos (Discover New Worlds) with more challenging works by renowned authors.

The third category Historias para toda la familia (Stories for the whole family) includes a large selection of works to be enjoyed in a family environment, with themes for both the youngest and oldest generations. The section Me cuido, te cuido (I take care of myself, I take care of you), provides a digital audience with access to books that are informative on wide-ranging topics, including personal health and well-being.

The last section are reading guides to help users navigate the Library’s educational texts to help improve reading skills, as well explore more bibliographic collections. “This is a starting point to expand the home digital library,” affirmed Minister Mayolo at FILBo. “Books are transformative, and can help communities come together, reconcile and open up new cultural horizons,” she said.

To access the Digital Home Library without the QR code visit:

https://bibliotecanacional.gov.co/es-co/colecciones/biblioteca-digital/bdf