Libraries and Archives

In 2007 Bogotá was named World Book Capital by UNESCO, the first Latin American city to receive this recognition, and the second one in the Americas after Montreal. An outstanding program, the library network and other organizations are working to promote books and reading in the city. Several specific initiatives for the World Book Capital program have been undertaken with the commitment of groups engaged in the book sector, both from the public and private sector.

The city is home to the Biblored, an institution which administers 16 small and four large public libraries (Biblioteca Virgilio Barco, Biblioteca El Tintal, Biblioteca El Tunal and Biblioteca Julio Mario Santodomingo). It also includes six branches of the Library Network of the Family Compensation Fund Colsubsidio, and libraries and documentation centers attached to institutions like the Museo Nacional de Colombia (specializing in old books, catalogs and art), Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogota, the Alliance Francaise, and the Centro Colombo Americano.

Another set of libraries is the new collaborative initiative between the state, city and international agencies. Examples include the Gabriel García Marquez Cultural Center custom designed by the Fondo de Cultura Economica in Mexico, and the Spanish Cultural Center, which will begin construction with public funds and funding from the Government of Spain in downtown Bogotá.

The National Library of Colombia (1777) under the Ministry of Culture and the Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango (1958) under Banco de la Republica, are the two largest public libraries in the city. The first is the repository of more than two million volumes, with an important collection of ancient books. The latter has almost two million volumes, is 45 thousand square meters in size, and hosts 10 thousand visitors a day. Bank of the Republic also supports the Alfonso Palacio Rudas Library north of the city, which has about 50 thousand volumes. Other large public libraries are the Library of Congress in Colombia (100 thousand volumes), the Instituto Caro y Cuervo (nearly 200 thousand volumes, and the largest Latin American library in Philology and Linguistics), the Library of the Academy of History, the Library of the Academy of Language, the Library of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH), and many university libraries.

Bogotá is home to historical records housed in the General National Archive, a collection of about 60 million documents, one of the largest repositories of primary historical sources in Latin America. Bogotá is also home to the Musical Archive of the Cathedral of Bogota (with thousands of books and choral songs from the colonial period), the Archdiocesan Archive, the Archive of the Conciliar Seminary of Bogotá, the Archive History National University of Colombia and the Archive of the Mint in Bogotá supported by the Bank of the Republic.