In Medellín, Colombia, a city once fractured by violence, the library – a 2009 recipient of the Gates Foundation “Access to Learning” Award – has become a powerful symbol of community building. In the early 2000s, government officials, community leaders and residents came together to build a future for their city. Their plan included using technology to increase the transparency of government, develop a competitive business environment and improve education. People’s perceptions of libraries have shifted from traditional “bookshelves” to dynamic centers – places that offer tools for personal development and economic improvement, places that create a sense of local community and provide a connection to the global community.
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