Juína is a small city in Mato Grosso, located 734 km from the state capital, Cuiabá. With around 40,000 inhabitants, it stands out for its family agriculture and service sector. Despite its size, the “Queen of the Forest”, as it is known, has shown to be a giant in another department: reading. After receiving help from Recode, the municipality underwent a total revolution in the library system, even winning an international award.

The partnership began in 2017. At that time, there was only one public library in the area, which was closed. The situation bothered the Secretary of Culture, Adriano Souza, who not only wanted to reopen it but also completely revitalize the system: “We wanted to transform our reality. So, I sought the State Library System, which presented us with a program from the NGO that had exactly that proposal,” says the manager.

Before the pandemic, the city promoted various in-person activities.

When Juína became part of Recode’s library project, a long road began to be traveled. The city’s employees received specific training, focused on digital empowerment and strengthening the professionals’ skills. From there, everyone started to understand the mechanism and began to build a promising journey.

Currently, the municipality has a complete and fully integrated program. There are a total of 11 libraries, located in urban, rural, and indigenous areas. They are all linked through a digital system that makes the entire collection available to the population online.

Technology earns award during the pandemic

Although libraries were physically closed during the pandemic, the work in the city did not stop. The solution was to create the “Library Delivery” project, which sees technology as a powerful engagement tool.

“The person enters the portal, selects the book they want and contacts us. Our team does all the cleaning work and delivers to the residence. When the book returns, it goes through another cleaning process and goes back on the shelf. All safely,” highlights Adriano.

The initiative earned Juína the Ibero-American Public Libraries Award (Iberbibliotecas), alongside actions from countries such as Spain, Chile, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Ecuador: “We are very happy with the international recognition. Our biggest prize, however, is having gone from 700 users in January 2017 to almost 10,000 now in 2020,” celebrates the secretary.

With the achievement, the city will receive $15,000, which will be invested in system improvements and the purchase of new books.