The words of Alexandre Fonseca, Executive President of Altice Portugal, marked the inauguration of two more micro-libraries that have given a new life to old telephone boxes. In Alcântara (Lisbon) and in Charneca de Caparica (Almada), these new community spaces aim to encourage reading and give new life to public places.
Encouraging reading habits in the population, stimulating the concept of education, and increase reading levels in the community were factors that led to the transformation of one of the classic red telephone boxes into the world's smallest library in the small village of Westbury-sub-Mendip, in the southwest of England and this was the movement that inspired the PT Foundation's project to convert the the former Portugal Telecom phone boxes into micro-libraries.
Between poetry and music performances from local school students, one of these cultural facilities was inaugurated in Jardim Avelar Brotero, in Lisbon, as a result of the partnership between the Parish Council of Alcântara and Altice Portugal, through its Foundation.
"There are already more than 20 boxes spread from north to south of the country, and today we inaugurate another one in the city of Lisbon at the service of the population," says Alexandre Fonseca. The program's slogan is 'Carry, Donate, Read and Return'. "the community can bring books, can donate books, read those books and give them back, because these books will be for the whole community within a principle of reciprocal sharing of culture and ideas," says the CEO.
January 29th became "a happy day for the community", according to the President of the Town Council of Alcântara, Davide Amado. This is because "this box provides a sharing of knowledge, reading and social mobility." This micro-library, however small, is also a way of promoting equality. Davide Amado underlines the privilege of working with the biggest company in the country - Altice Portugal - on combating inequalities. "All of us, as a community, win."
Present at this inauguration, Graça Rebocho, director of the PT Foundation, explains that the project is part of one of the organization's priority areas: culture. Today, there are already about 20 of these cultural spaces and the director revealed that, "10 more openings outside Lisbon" are planned for this year.
A day later, the project reached Charneca de Caparica
On January 30th, the Altice Portugal initiative arrived at Rua Marco Cabaço, in Charneca de Caparica. It was here that a new micro-library joined the network of cultural spaces made available by the PT Foundation across the country.
During the inauguration of the new reading box, Inês de Medeiros, mayor of Almada, said that culture is synonymous with communication, exchange and sharing. "We often have a tendency to believe that reading is a lonely act, but it is not. The best thing about literature is when we can share our readings with each other, and this is what this initiative represents."
At the inauguration ceremony, besides Alexandre Fonseca and Inês de Medeiros, Pedro Matias, President of the Town Council of Charneca de Caparica and Sobreda, and João Paulo Proença, Interconcelle Coordinator of the School Library Network were present.
Books instead of telephones
The PT Foundation project started in 2013 in Barcelinhos, in partnership with the Municipality, where the Livros do Cávado initiative was launched, with publications available to residents and tourists. Its success justified the replication of the initiative throughout the country, including the Azores and Madeira.
Those who approach these creative spaces, instead of the traditional telephone, find books. The various micro-libraries are revitalized by the PT Foundation, which reuses the telephone boxes and, through partnerships with local or other entities, ensures thier adaptation, placement and dynamization with the objective of strengthening community ties, exercising citizenship and encouraging reading in a totally unexpected space.
This is another initiative that is part of a vast program in the field of Social Responsibility led by Altice Portugal that is located in key areas such as culture, education, music, sports, Portuguese language and social intervention.