Luis Soriano is a modern-day, one-man version of the Packhorse Librarians. He is a teacher in Columbia and twice a week he loads his two burros with books, grabs his biblioburro sign, and rides for 8 hours round-trip to bring books to rural children near la Gloria, Columbia.
Watch as Luis tells his story
An update to Luis’ story
Donations received after that first video was posted have paid for a new library next door to Luis’ house! See the update here:
PBS released an hour-long documentary about Luis in 2011. More information about that can be found here. Also at the link you can find more information about other mobile libraries as well as a page with ideas of how to give back in a related way. Luis Soriano was chosen by CNN as one of their Heroes of the Year in 2010.
2018 Update to the story
For some reason when I first started researching this story, I could only find older information. Today I found a recent BBC video that gives us an update to the story. Luis lost a leg in an accident a few years ago and now has a prosthetic leg. He continues to ride and deliver books but has also been able to expand his range with other biblioburro volunteers.
Luis Soriano’s story is quite inspirational. I was able to watch the PBS documentary on Amazon Prime Video and definitely recommend it. The short videos above give a nice look at what the project and the man are all about but the documentary really shows how hard and dangerous the work is and how dedicated he is to getting books to the children. The stories told by the children in the video are heart-breaking. The video is in Spanish with English subtitles so unless you understand Spanish, you’ll have to be paying attention and concentrating while you watch. No multi-tasking while watching this one!
If you feel inclined to help, there is donation information on the website. Alternatively, consider how you can make sure books are available in your own local library (donations?) or how you can help others learn to read (volunteer tutor?). The opportunities are many. Find the one that works best for you.
This is the book that first introduced me to the Biblioburro story.
Short documentary on Youtube in Spanish with English subtitles
Updates to above documentary
Website of Ayoka Productions (they made the above two videos) – Ayoka is a not-for-profit organization bringing video to groups that need exposure to further their good deeds.
HDNet video about Luis’ biblioburro
Book trailer for Biblioburro, a book inspired by the Ayoka Productions video
PBS Documentary information (I was just searching for it at the library – no luck. But! I found it on Amazon prime.)
BBC Video with story updates, posted in 2018