Emptying the bins of Colombia’s capital, Jose Alberto Gutierrez one day found a copy of the classic novel “Anna Karenina,” and kept it.
That was 20 years ago — and the garbage man continued to collect Bogota’s discarded books, amassing 25,000 in a free library, swelled by donations.
“I realized that people were throwing books away in the rubbish. I started to rescue them,” Gutierrez, a stocky, grey-haired man of 54, told AFP.
He never got past primary school as a student, but is now dubbed “The Lord of the Books,” in demand from schools across the country.
– Epic undertaking –
That first copy of Tolstoy was soon joined by “The Little Prince,” “Sophie’s World,” “The Iliad” and various novels by Colombian master Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Gutierrez’s neighbors started coming round to borrow books to help their children with schoolwork.
“There was a lack of them in our neighborhood, so we started to help.”
Now a whole …