Colombian Libraries: Bringing Cultural Spaces Into The 21st Century

The digital revolution is creating new challenges for public libraries. Successfully promoting books and creativity depends on the renovation of libraries, and acknowledging them not as forgotten book shelves, but as important community centers for cultural activity. Between 2013 and 2018, Manuvo collaborated with several libraries in Colombia and Chile to revitalize their relationships with younger readers through the creation of digital books, publishing labs, and spaces for technological appropriation with educational and cultural purposes.

Design Thinking, Product Management, Editorial Direction, Open Innovation Workshops
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The Challenge

From murder capital to model city, Medellin, Colombia is a living testimony of the power of public libraries to transform societies. Libraries are no longer forgotten corners with shelves full of books, but key promoters of social and cultural development. Particularly in countries where the majority of the population live in poverty, libraries have an important role in reducing inequality to social services, including cultural services. The public library, as a strategy to counteract segregation, discrimination, crime, and violence, is a vital leader to foster critical thinking, lifelong learning, and creative economy. The 21st century brings new challenges and opportunities for public libraries. While access to public libraries is not yet widespread, especially in Latin America, the gap can be reduced through technology. Thus, facing the technological challenges of today and tomorrow, depends on the modernization of libraries, and successfully revitalizing their relationships with younger generations through new offerings, renewed strategies, and reinvented perspectives.

Introducing Manuvo’s approach to public libraries

Between 2013 and 2018, Manuvo collaborated with several libraries in Colombia to create digital books, digital content distribution platforms, publishing labs, and spaces for technological appropriation with educational and cultural purposes.

While the importance of libraries as an epicenter of community life must not be disregarded, it is also crucial to recognize the integration of digital technologies and tools to the way libraries traverse new learning processes. Digital books and other platforms, such as apps, can make learning about the culture and interacting with history a much, much, more abundant and fuller experience for readers of all ages.

Creation of digital books and publishing labs

Following international trends that see the library as editor, content creator, and guardian of our memory, Manuvo supported libraries in their efforts to integrate editorial process into their offerings, making them places for collaboration, learning and training.

Digital content distribution platforms

In recent years, throughout Latin America, diverse strategies for computer equipment, tablets, and Internet connection have been implemented. Not only to access the world of digital information, but to promote reading in digital format, in addition to reading on paper. Hence the need to complement infrastructure policies with high quality digital content, especially aimed at children and young people.

Spaces for technology education

New technologies are a great vehicle to revitalize a library’s relationship with younger users. Through digital labs, hackathons, and other training spaces, Manuvo helped libraries promote creativity and lifelong learning.

By putting technology at the service of access to information and the circulation of knowledge, Manuvo helped transform libraries into inclusive places for cultural life and social transformation for all. These experiences are examples of the determinant role that libraries play for social transformation. Similarly, they shed light on new paths to bring culture, and knowledge, closer to those who until now, had no access to it.