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یکشنبه 17 آذر‌ماه سال 1387 ساعت 12:09 ب.ظ

The Transformative Power of Reading: One Man, Two Burros, and 4,800 Books

I know about libraries and bookmobiles, but this was the first time I’d heard of a Biblioburro. About a decade ago, Colombian schoolteacher Luis Soriano decided to share his collection of books with people who do not have books. Soriano believes in the transformative power of reading. He says that providing books for people who don’t have books can improve the impoverished region in northern Colombia where he lives.

Nearly every weekend for the last 10 years Soriano and his burros, Alpha and Beto, travel with textbooks, encyclopedias, and novels from Soriano’s personal library. Eager children wait at stops along the way.

Soriano’s personal library was small—perhaps 70 books—until he reached out to noted Colombian author and journalist Juan Gossaín. Soriano had listened to Gossaín read excerpts from his newest novel over the radio. He wrote to the author and asked if he’d lend a copy of the book to the Biblioburro. After Gossaín broadcast details about the Biblioburro on his radio program, book donations poured in from all over Colombia—4,800 of them

Traveling with his Biblioburro is not without risks: Soriano once fractured his leg from a fall and has been accosted by bandits who, after tying him to a tree, stole a book by Paulo Coelho. “For some reason Coelho is at the top of everyone’s list of favorites,” he grinned. Still, it’s worth it. Recently, as a girl read from a book of poetry she said, ؟“That is so beautiful, Maestro. When are you coming back

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