Sao Paulo, Jul 19 (EFE).– A public library in Brazil has earned a spot as one of five finalists for the International Federation of Library Association’s (IFLA) Public Library of the Year prize.
Built in 2015 on an former open landfill, Villa Lobos Park Library – which is competing against public libraries in the United States, the Netherlands, Norway and Singapore – is betting on the concept of “living library,” where the most important factor is community building.
“This unprecedented nomination is particularly important to us in Brazil because we are running against finalists from countries that have a strong tradition of investing in reading, culture and libraries,” Pierre Andre Ruprecht, managing director of SP Leituras, the organization administrating the venue, said.
With workshops aimed at familiarizing senior citizens with new technologies, state-of-the-art braille assistants, yoga classes and even hammocks and couches to relax to a good novel, the three-story offers more than just books.
Awash in natural sunlight and surrounded by green area, the library also features creative writing and photography classes, as well as book clubs and as many as 900 other activities that are renewed every week.
Social inclusion is also a priority of modern libraries, and Villa Lobos includes translation and audio conversion, among other amenities aimed at assisting its handicapped visitors.
The IFLA nomination may show Brazilian “politicians, leaders and culture promoters” that the creation of a strong social work is “viable” through institutions of knowledge, said Ruprecht, adding that libraries stand as a “space for self-cultivation,” always promoting three scopes: “access, discussion and creation.”
“Libraries are low income societies’ closest cultural tool, capable of creating a very positive social impact from which to promote constant and consistent actions,” he said.