By Emily Williams
The ideologically tinged reading initiatives announced by Chávez’s administration in Venezuela have caused alarm and economic hardship among many of the country’s publishers and booksellers, but there is one program — run with government support though not under its full control — that has won praise inside and outside Venezuela. Biblioteca Ayacucho is a 35-year-old publishing foundation under the direction of an independent board made up of authors and intellectuals, and attached to Venezuela’s Ministry of Culture, with the mission of publishing works of literature, memoir, biography, history and reference that together make up a record of the history of Latin America from pre-Columbian times through the present.
The resulting collection of works is considered an essential canon of indigenous works from all over Latin America and is highly respected for its quality and academic rigor. In 2007 the foundation began a digitization project named Biblioteca Ayacucho Digital that has now built up a library of around 250 works, all available on their website in PDF format. Though Biblioteca Ayacucho has thousands of books in its catalog, many under copyright, it is only including public domain works in its digital collection. The program makes these important historical texts accessible for free online to readers and researchers around the world.
VISIT: Biblioteca Ayacucho Digital’s website
DOWNLOAD: the foundation’s full catalog (in PDF)