Rio Maior and Lisbon get reading boxes

“Take, donate, read, return” is the slogan of the already more than 50 reading boxes spread all over Portugal and promoted by the Altice Foundation, to which Rio Maior and Lisbon were added last week. Through partnerships with various entities, the Altice Foundation ensures the adaptation of these icons of urban telecommunications infrastructure, where the public telephone gives way to books, thus providing a space for the dissemination of reading at the service of communities.

For Ana Estelita, Director of the Altice Foundation, “this project is part of a strategic pillar of the Altice Foundation, that of promoting everyone's access to education and knowledge. Increasingly, the Foundation has been focusing its initiatives on innovative projects with the ability to provide populations with tools so that they can have increased opportunities. What we aspire to is to achieve impact and enable transformation,” she said.

The new micro-library in Rio Maior is installed in an old telephone box that has been refurbished and converted for educational and cultural purposes, thus becoming a point of interaction and cultural dynamism for Rio Maior readers. On June 2nd, Maria José Veloso, from Fundação Altice, joined the Councillor for Education from the Municipality of Rio Maior, Leonor Fragoso, among other guests of the municipality, for the inauguration of the new reading box in this region.

The new Lisbon reading box was inaugurated on June 3rd and is located at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), on Avenida Rovisco Pais. At the opening were Daniel Freitas, from the Altice Foundation; Rogério Colaço, President of IST; Miguel Amado, Vice-President of IST; Isabel Marcos, Coordinator of the Técnico Library; Sebastião Alves, professor of the Chemical Engineering Department, among other guests at IST.

The conversion of old telephone boxes is inspired by a movement started in the small village of Westbury-sub-Mendip, in the southwest of England, where its residents sought to transform one of the classic red telephone boxes into the smallest library in the world. In Portugal, this project was started by the Altice Foundation in 2013, and today it has more than 50 boxes spread from the north to the south of the country and in the islands.

This initiative by Altice Portugal creates a space for more democratic access to education and culture, to strengthen community ties, exercise citizenship and promote reading in an unexpected place, which has now gained a new life. This Altice Foundation reading box project is part of a vast program within the scope of Altice Portugal's social responsibility, which focuses on key areas such as culture, education, music, sport, Portuguese language, and social intervention.​