National Library of Colombia

The mission of this project seeks to leverage Colombia’s biggest cultural infrastructure, the public library system, in order to:

  • Increase technology adoption through public libraries
  • Strengthen social capital through shared local history
  • Engage the whole country in storytelling to advance the peace process


This project is being carried out by the Colombian Ministry of Culture and the National Library of Colombia with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It will be run across all municipalities of Colombia in over 1,000 public libraries.

Social Change

The National Library of Colombia recognized early on that this project had the potential increase civic participation and social capital through the storytelling process. In many places, themes of sports and music emerged as people explored their local past, reaching beyond the last 52 years of violent conflict and imagining a peaceful future.

The project in numbers

At the end of 2016, the program had been run in 574 libraries, with an additional 474 libraries joining in 2017. There are 29 regional tutors working with libraries across all of the municipalities.

While social impact evaluation is underway, already the numbers of participants and photographs shared through the end of 2016 has far exceeded expectations and speaks to the success of the project:

  • There were over 56,000 people participating in photo and memory sharing events at the participating libraries.
  • 239 workshops had been held.
  • 780 collections were created on the Comparte Tu Rollo collection site on Historypin
  • 5,641 unique photographs were digitized and uploaded to Historypin