Fellow Since 2001
Banco Solidario de Libros Juveniles- RescataLibros
This profile was prepared when José María Campaña Perez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
José has developed a unique system for bringing books to low-income children, based on his belief that promoting "reading habits in kids is a high investment in democracy." Through the Solidarity Book Bank for Children, José collects new and old books, largely from children, repairs them at his "Book-Rescuers" workshops, and then distributes them to places where children gather, like schools, shelters, and daycare centers. Besides encouraging reading and providing books to children who would not otherwise have them, this system promotes civic engagement among middle-class, private school children–the major book donors to the program. The Solidarity Book Bank for Children is a simple and low-cost system, yet it is unique in that its books rotate between sites every two months rather than staying in one library or with one child, a practice that works to maximize the number of children who can read them. Rotation also guarantees libraries a variety of reading material throughout the year.