Libraries Around the World

While editing a book recently, I came across a reference to the Library at Alexandria. So, I looked it up. It must have been magnificent.


This led me to looking up other libraries in the world, such as this, at Trinity College, Dublin.


And this, the University of Salamanca Library, in Salamanca, Spain.


And then, I came across this, El BiblioBurro in Colombia:


I found the image on the Polis blog, and was thoroughly enchanted by the human drive for knowledge and entertainment. According to the blogger, Natalie Echeverri, “Luis Soriano, the creator of this mobile library, travels every weekend eight hours and up to 11 kilometers in the most remote landscapes of rural Colombia. His goal is to fight what he calls ‘the farmers’ ignorance.”

Throughout much of the world, ornate libraries such as those above are simply not possible. In these countries, the mobile library is still king. Here are a few more images from Polis blog:

A bookmobile bus in Chile:

EXPo Museos 005

A camel library in Kenya:



And a donkey library in Zimbabwe:

donkey cart

These folks can’t just order books with a click on Amazon. Nor can they choose from a library of thousands of volumes, but have to make do with what is available to them. I remember reading all of the juvenile fiction books in the library on the Army post at Fort Carson when I was in fifth grade. Once I’d finished reading every book, I started the cycle over. Today, that isn’t a problem: bookstores abound, and any volume I can dream of seems to be available somewhere on the internet.

What heaven such digital access might be to these folks. Ah, but what joy, also, to get a new book in your hands and curl up to read it!


If you have books that you no longer want or need, I ran across this website, Books for Third World Countries, a not-for-profit organization that will send your books to other countries free of charge. Their goal is to promote literacy across the globe, one book at a time. If you have the books, why not open the world to a new reader?

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