With the help of his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, Luis Soriano created a makeshift mobile library for children.
Soriano was concerned that his students had no access to books at home, so he decided to do something about it. With the help of his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, Luis created a makeshift mobile library and set off to take his books to children who didn’t have access to reading materials. With that, the word ‘Biblioburro’ was born.
A primary school teacher by profession, Soriano developed the idea after witnessing the power reading had on his students, most of whom had lived through conflicts at a young age. Starting in the late 1990s, Soriano travelled to communities in Colombia's Caribbean hinterlands with a portable library, which began with 70 books.
“Kids wise up when they pick up a book. Their surprise and imagination meet together, you see them starting to laugh by themselves, just by seeing the book,” he told BBC.
Children's adventure stories have remained one of the most popular items distributed by the Biblioburros. In addition to encyclopedia volumes, novels, and medical texts, other items distributed by the Biblioburro include a number of Time-Life travel pictorial books.