Garbage Collector Collects Discarded Books To Build A Library Of Over 20,000 Books For Underprivileged Kids
A sunlit building full of books is easy to recount the joy children feels when they began to fall in love with reading. Every day these kids flood out of their homes and gather at a library inside a home of a trash collector, and when a closing time comes by, they linger hopefully, longing for some more time to spend in between the pages of the books they are reading.
This unusual library has been set up by Jose Alberto Gutierrez, a trash collector in Colombia who has touched so many lives in unfathomable ways. Jose has been doing his bit of shaping lives of many children who come from a low-income background.
Jose who is hailed as the ‘Lord of the Books’ collects discarded books from the rich neighbourhoods and brings them to his house where he had started a library which is accessible to the poor kids. At present, the library holds 20,000 books which have been collected by Jose in the past 20 years of his life.
The ground floor of his house is full of books discarded by the people. The collection ranges from children’s classics to chemistry textbooks.
He says,” Books are luxuries for girls and boys in low-income neighbourhoods. The new reading materials at bookstores are too expensive, and there are 19 public libraries in the city, but they are located far away from poorer areas.”
Jose wishes that these libraries should be opened up in each corner of the neighbourhood, all the departments, in all the towns and rural areas.
53-year-old Jose calls books the salvation which his city needs and he loves reading which is an attribute from his mother, who would read to him even though she had no financial support to keep him in school.
In his childhood days, Jose and his mother would travel to book fairs in Chile and Mexico. The fame as Colombia’s ‘ Lord of the Books’ has brought him thousands of books that he donated to other libraries because he had no place to stock those.
Jose’s favourite book includes “The General in his Labyrinth” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.