A Colombian trash collector is an everyday superhero for children in his southern Bogotá neighborhood.
While on shift in the capital’s wealthier parts, José Alberto Gutiérrez discovered a tossed-out copy of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which set the tone for his mission to bridge the gap between literature and the underprivileged.
A garbage collector in Colombia has his own library for children. All the books come from the trash.
Collecting 50 to 60 books a day, the sanitation worker has since preserved as many as 20,000 titles in his 15-year-old home library, La Fuerza de las Palabras (The Strength of Words). “My family and I decided to make the most of the downstairs space and open a library for children,” the widely known “Señor de los Libros” told AJ+.
The community haven has left its mark on children near and far, considering Alberto Gutiérrez also ships books to hundreds of remote towns across the country in his effort to promote literacy. “When the library opened, I was very happy because I could come in and read books. In my house there are hardly any books,” a young girl named Hillary shared. “I could see the books and learn new things.”
Job well done, Señor!