Banco del Libro is a non-profit institution devoted to the promotion of reading and children’s literature in Venezuela and Latin America. Created in 1960 as an exchange center for used textbooks (hence the name “Banco del Libro”, which means “Book Bank”), the Institution’s programs and services branched out organizing school and public libraries, creating a library network, and developing an evaluation program to select and recommend children’s books. The experience achieved by Banco del Libro over the last 47 years has been transferred to the National Public Library Network, and has been a model to other similar institutions abroad, such as Fundalectura (Colombia) and Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruiz Pérez (Spain).
Social responsibility projects
Always conscious of the importance of making books and reading available in low income neighbourhoods, Banco del Libro continues to carry out projects based on carefully selected book collections in order to help these communities to become agents of their own transformation process. Some of these projects are:
Leer para vivir (Read to Live)
was created after the floods in Vargas State in the Venezuelan coastline, on December 1999. This project is the first experience in Latin America which uses literature as a tool for the solution of individual and community problems of this nature This project has served as a guideline for other countries like Colombia, El Salvador, and more recently IBBY has proposed it as an example for reading projects in Thailand after the tsunami.
Tendiendo puentes con la lectura (Building Bridges through Reading)
attempts to create a sense of citizenship in children of three low income communities of Caracas. It favours social inclusion through encounters based on children’s books and on the reflection of terms such as tolerance, liberty, identity.
De la lectura a la escritura (From Reading to Writing)
is a project that was developed during 2005 and 2006, along with Fundación Luz y Vida and with the aid of the World Bank and the Canadian Embassy in Venezuela. It was directed towards youngsters between the ages of 14 and 18 who where excluded from the formal educational system, with the goal of promoting written expression and creativity as a means of dealing with conflicts, favour social inclusion and motivate a professional attitude. Many of these teenagers had participated as children in the Tendiendo puentes project.
Refréscate Leyendo (Freshen up with Reading)
in alliance with Coca-Cola Services in Venezuela, this project is aimed to promote reading among children, teenagers and adults throughout the country. There are three main components: workshops for teachers and librarians, reading sessions with children and donations of carefully selected book collections, that are carried out with the help of the bookmobile.
Banco del Libro’s Documentation Center has been a pioneer both in creating and circulating reading materials regarding children’s literature and reading promotion in Venezuela and Latin America. The Documentation Center, with more than 20,000 titles for children and young people as well as a collection of more than 10,000 documents for the use of specialists, is the largest of its kind in the Latin America region. During the 80’s and 90’s it helped to develop similar centres in Latin America and Spain. This Centre was core to PILI (Proyecto Interamericano de Literatura Infantil) supported by 0AS during the 80’s – a project created to study and promote children’s Literature in Latin America and the Caribbean. Because Banco del Libro’s Documentation Center was the first of its kind in Latin America, OAS requested the institution to coordinate this project.
Training Program 2007-2009
Professional training has become one of the main Institutional goals, Banco del Libro offers an On-line Course for Reading Promoters; an On-line M.A. on Books and Literature for Children in alliance with the Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona and the Germán Sánchez Ruipérez Foundation (Spain); a Higher Education Course on Reading Promotion and Children’s Books in agreement with the Universidad Central de Venezuela’s Humanities Faculty.
Banco del Libro is affiliated to several networks and institutions that share our field of interest:
- Venezuelan chapter of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People)
- Member of SINERGIA (Asociación Nacional de Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil)
- Member of FIPAN (Federación de Instituciones Privadas de Atención al Niño, Jóven y la Familia)
- Member of the Permanent Committee of the Latin American and Caribbean Section of IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)
Please visit us at www.bancodellibro.org.ve