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Dustbin man builds free library of thrown away books


· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

A dustbin man in Bogota in Colombia, who never studied further than primary school, has gathered a library of more than 20,000 thrown away books. The collection began 20 years ago, when Jose Alberto Gutierrez fished out a discarded copy of Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina.


He now offers his books to other people as a free community library. "I realised that people were throwing books away in rubbish bins. I started to rescue them," he said. Gutierrez, who has gained the nickname The Lord of the Books, began collecting books that had been dumped in the waste bins in wealthier parts of the city. He would take them out of the rubbish and retrieve them for families in poorer areas.


His collection of chucked away books is now used by families wanting to help their children with their homework, in a free library called the Strength of Words. He is also taking books to remote areas without any access to libraries. He has been providing books for fighters being demobilised in Colombia’s peace process. A fighter from the Farc rebel group contacted him about getting books to help them prepare for jobs when they re-enter civilian life.


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