Colombia’s Ministry of Culture announced recently plans to set up public mobile libraries in demobilization camps within the next couple months. At least 20 of these libraries will be installed in the various camps where guerrilla from Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are relocating as dictated by the insurgent group’s peace deal with the government.
According to Culture Minister Mariana Garcés, the goal of this project is “to take the library services to the rural areas where people don´t have access to them.”
Each mobile library is equipped with 380 traditional books in addition to several tech-based learning tools. A part of the Ministry of Technology, Information, and Communication’s “Leer es mi cuento” (read is my story) campaign, the libraries will also have 17 tablets, 15 e-book readers (with some 250 book titles), five computers, three cameras and a screen and audio to watch more than 30 movies.
Garcés called the multimedia libraries “a space for communities to have the chance to read, have access to the digital world, and have a meeting point to create dialog.”
The zones that will receive the first 20 libraries are located in Antioquia, Arauca, Caquetá, Cauca, Cesar, Guaviare, Meta, Nariño, Putumayo, Tolima, Chocó, Córdoba, and La Guajira.
Theses multimedia centers are not large — with roughly 100 square-meters of space — and only take 20 minutes to build, according to the agency. Because they will be housed in areas where there may be no electricity, each is equipped with a power generator and server that provides a wireless network to connect electronic devices.
The books that are going to be in these centers were chosen by the National Library of Colombia, National Network of Public Libraries, and Centro Regional Para el Fomento del Libro en América Latina.
The educational themes that the ministry is prioritizing in the materials it gives FARC members are rural development, alternative crops, and the history of Colombia and Latin America. Culture is also considered, with books about cinematography and art being included.
Colombia is the first Latin American country to implement mobile libraries, an idea developed by the non-profit Bibliothèques Sans Frontières – Libraries Without Borders. The concept was originally conceived at the BSF in Montreuil, France, and has expanded to operate in countries grappling with refugee and internally displaced populations, including Greece, Morocco, Germany, and Ghana.