ABOUT
Region: South America
Population: 48,653,419
Area: 1,141,749
GDP per capita, PPP: 14,154
(current international $)
Major Languages: Spanish (official)
LIBRARIES IN

The National Network of Public Libraries, which is a centralized system, includes public libraries and provides library services at the national, departmental and municipal levels. It is coordinated at the national level by the Ministry of Culture through the National Library of Colombia.

The network consists of following library types:

  • The National Library: institution of legal deposit as an essential mechanism for its mission to collect, organise, increase, preserve, protect, register and disseminate the bibliographic and documental heritage of the nation.
  • Public libraries which provides services to the general public and is available to all members of society.
  • State public libraries of national, departmental, district or municipal levels, which belong or are organised by the national government and its various territorial levels, and act in accordance with national laws.

This network doesn't include public libraries which are funded either by private organisations or public-private partnerships. Those types of libraries are being established by autonomous or non-governmental institutions with independent budgets. According to law, these libraries can establish its own networks. Examples of these libraries are: libraries of the Family Compensation Fund (Caja de compensación familiar, a private organisation), community libraries, libraries of the National Bank of Colombia, and research and university libraries which belongs to research institutes or higher education establishments.

The Ministry of Culture through the National Library of Colombia is the agency responsible for development of policy for public libraries, aiming at creation, promotion and strengthening of all types of public libraries as well as for its library services.

The national, departmental, district or municipal governments shall include in its annual budgets the appropriation line to create, strengthen and maintain the number of libraries in its respective jurisdiction. Also, according to the Law 60 of 1993, the municipalities assign the budget (2%) to cultural houses and public libraries.



SDG STORIES: Stories Available
PERFORMANCE METRICS

SELECT METRIC VIEW

Totals Per 1M People*

Number of Libraries

Total Libraries with Internet Access

Total Staff

Volunteers

Registered Users

Total Visits

Total Physical Loans

Total Electronic Loans
CONTEXTUAL INDICATORS
Population and Geography
30 43.9
Median Age Population Density
people per sq km
Information and Infrastructure
58.1% -0.1%
Internet UsersInternet Gender Gap
Poverty and Employment
4.5% 8.7%
Poverty Rate
2011 PPP
Unemployment
% of labor force
Education and Literacy
94.2% 4.5%
Adult Literacy Rate
% of people age 15+
Education Spending
% of GDP
Innovation and Skills
No Data Available 0.2%
ICT Skills:
Transfering Files
Research Spending
% of GDP
Organisations
National Library Associations
National Library
Policy Making Institutions
Library Support Organisations
Policy & Legislation
National Policy for Libraries
Library Law
Legal Deposit Law
Copyright Law
Library Exceptions & Limitations
Education & Events
Professional Qualification Requirements
Education
Professional Publications
Professional Events
PERFORMANCE METRICS
Learn more about the performance metrics
SELECT METRIC VIEW
Totals Per 1 M People
LEGEND
N/A' Not Applicable '-' No Data '0' Zero
Total National Academic Public Community School Other

Total Libraries

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Libraries with Internet Access

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Full-Time Staff

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Volunteers

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Registered User

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Physical Visits

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Physical Loans

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Electronic Loans

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CONTEXTUAL INDICATORS
Learn more about the contextual indicators
LEGEND
N/A' Not Applicable '-' No Data '0' Zero
Population Colombia Region World
Population Density
people per sq km
43.9
2016
31.8
2016
57.4
2016
Urban Population (World Bank) 76.7%
2016
80.1%
2016
54.3%
2016
Median Age (CIA) 30
2017
-
30
2017
Age Dependency Ratio, Youth (World Bank)
% of working age people
34.1%
2017
37.1%
2017
39.7%
2017
Age Dependency Ratio, Elderly (ITU World Telecoms Database)
% of working age people
11.1%
2017
12%
2017
13.3%
2017
Information Infrastructure Colombia Region World
Internet Users (ITU World Telecoms Database)
% of population
58.1%
2016
-
-
Broadband Cost (ITU World Telecoms Database)
in USD
$19
2016
$21.3
2016
$20.1
2016
Phone Subscription Cost (ITU World Telecoms Database)
in USD
$12.8
2016
$13.6
2016
$9.5
2016
Internet Gender Gap (ITU World Telecoms Database)
% of Men Internet Users - % of Women Internet Users
-0.1%
2016
-
11.6%
2017
Access to Electricity (World Bank)
99%
2016
97.8%
2016
87.4%
2016
Economy, Poverty, and Employment Colombia Region World
GDP per Capita (World Bank)
current international $
14,154
2016
15,211
2016
16,215
2016
Poverty Rate (World Bank)
at $1.90 a Day, 2011 PPP
4.5%
2016
4.5%
2013
10.9%
2013
Inequality Index (World Bank)
0 is perfect equality, 100 is the complete inequality
51
2016
-
-
Unemployment (World Bank)
% of labor force
8.7%
2016
8.1%
2016
5.9%
2014
Inactive Youth (World Bank)
% of youth
21.2%
2016
21.8%
2016
-
Education and Literacy Colombia Region World
Students per Teacher (World Bank)
Ratio
24
2016
22
2016
24
2016
Adult Literacy Rate (World Bank)
% of people age 15+
94.2%
2015
93.5%
2016
86.2%
2016
Education Spending (World Bank)
% of GDP
4.5%
2016
5.3%
2014
4.9%
2014
Innovation and Skills Colombia Region World
Research Spending (World Bank)
% of GDP
0.2%
2015
0.8%
2014
2.2%
2015
ICT Skills: Programming
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Creating Presentations
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Finding, Downloading, Installing Software
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Transferring Files
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Sending Emails
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Using Copy/Paste
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Connect/Install Devices
% of Population
-
-
-
ICT Skills: Using Math in Spreadsheets
% of Population
-
-
-
Organisations

National Library Associations

Colombian Association of Library Science-Ascolbi / Colegio Colombiano de Bibliotecología, Ascolbi

Ascolbi is responsible for organizing, representing and strengthening students and professionals of Library and Information Science in Colombia through  leading disciplinary, ethics, academic, scientific, social and public policy debate; the professional update, exchange and generation of knowledge aiming at improving the process of acquisition, classification, description, conservation, access, clasification, and social appropriation of information and knowledge.  It has representatives in the National Council of Librarianship, institution responsible for regulating the professional practice in Colombia. Boards of directors of both institutions (Ascolbi and the National Council of Librarianship) change each three years.

National Library

National Library of Colombia / Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia, BNC

The National Library of Colombia is the main library of bibliographic heritage in the country. It is the head representative of the National Network of Public Libraries. It guarantees the retrievement, preservation and access to the collective memory of the country. It is also responsible for planning and designing policies related to reading, public libraries, and its development.

Policy Making Institutions

National Ministry of Culture / Ministerio de Cultura

Institutions responsible of policy making related to libraries are in three territorial levels: national, departamental and municipal, each one with its specific competencies. At the national level, the Ministry of Culture through the National Library of Colombia is responsible for policies related to reading and bibliographic heritage.

National Ministry of Education / Ministerio de Educación

The National Ministry of Educations is responsible for policies related to university and research libraries as well as school libraries.

Library Support Organisations

Association of Friends of Libraries, Culture and Education, Biblioamigos / Asociación de Amigos de las Bibliotecas, la Cultura y la Educación, Biblioamigos

Established in 2001, with the main objective of supporting and strengthening an educational and cultural project offered by national public libraries  and public libraries of Bogotá.  Its work is aimed at four strategic directions:
1. Promote, advise and formulate librarianship, educational and cultural projects.
2. Manage, collect, and execute economic and/ or in kind resources.
3. To perform strategic alliances with public administration and private company for the successful development of projects.
4. Produce links with citizenship through educational process and appropriations of projects.

Policy & Legislation

National Policy for Libraries

Policy for reading and libraries / Política de lectura y bibliotecas

Policy is defined around two fundamental axis: access and memory which materializes in the Public Library System and the Heritage Libraries System. Its principal aim is to garanty the possibilities of access to all people to reading and information, and knowledge production without any barrier, as well as to retrieve, conserve, organise, control, and access bibliographic and documentary heritage. It integrates actors from national, departamental and municipal government, universities and research groups, librarians, non-governmental entities, etc. In addition, Colombia has other plans which support and consolidate the policy.

Library Law

National Law 1379 of 15th january of 2010, by which ir organized the National Network of Public Libraries and dictates other dispositions / Ley 1379 del 15 de enero de 2010, por la cual se organiza la Red Nacional de Bibliotecas Públicas y se dictan otras disposiciones

The objective of this law is to define the policy of National Network of Public Libraries, to regulate its functioning and to establish instruments for its integral and sustainable development. It applies to institutions, proceses and resources related to the National Network of Public Libraries coordinated by the Ministry of Colombia through the National Library of Colombia. The law doesn't apply to public libraries which are established by autonomous or non-governmental institutions and funded by private or public-private funds. Also, this law defines:  the creation of Technical Committee of National Public Libraries and responsibilities in different territorial levels of libraries: national, departamental and municipal.

Legal Deposit Law

National Law 44 5th february, by which it modifies and add the Law 23 of 1982 and modifies the Law 29 of 1944 / Ley 44 de 1993. Por la cual se modifica y adiciona la Ley 23 de 1982 y se modifica la Ley 29 de 1944

Regulated by Law 44 of 1993, Decreto (ordinance) 1080 of 2015, Decreto (ordinance) 358 of 2000 and Law 1379 of 2010. Deposit law applies to: editors, audiovisual and phonograms producers,  video recorders producers, and the authors of printed, audiovisual or phonograms work when they assumed the edition and distributions of its own works established in the country. By 2013 the National Library of Colombia- Selection and Acquisitions Division implemented the voluntary digital deposit through its web site and is harvesting the Colombian web.

Copyright Law & Library Exceptions and Limitations

Law (act) 23 from 1982 on authors' rights / Ley 23 de 1982 sobre derechos de autor

The framework of copyright law in Colombia is Law 23, 1982. Since 2011, some proposals for updates have been made and since then the librarians have been making comments for the inclusion of exceptions and limitations in these proposals.

Exceptions and limitations for libraries

The law allow for some basic activities, but there have been extensive debates about what the law does not allow, but it is a common practice among librarians, where multiple copyright infringements could be made or libraries would no longer offer services and access to the information for fear of committing infractions. It was detected that legislators are unaware of the daily work of libraries, and there is no connection between changing needs, legislators and library practices. In 2018, the standard was updated for the first time with joint work and consensus among the various stakeholders and exceptions were obtained for loans, digital deposit and orphan works. Colombia had an exception for translation of documents but with an update of 2012 this exception was eliminated, affecting access to information for the various languages spoken in the country. Due to the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the United States, an update on Internet Service Providers must be made. The terms of protection of exclusive rights should have been increased, affecting seriously the public domain without having studies that demonstrate that increase strengthens the creation, making the work of libraries in the country more difficult. In 2013, Colombia declared itself in favor of a Treaty on exceptions and limitations for libraries in the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights at WIPO, but unfortunately it was the only time it did. Colombia's position has been to support the protection of authors, being quite timid in the inclusion of exceptions and limitations in favor of libraries and archives. The update of the 2018 law includes the review of exceptions every 3 years; by 2020 public hearings should be held with a view to updating the law and the library sector is expected to present itself at mentioned hearing. The initative which made the agreements possible is #BibliotecariosAlSenado

Education & Events

Professional Qualification Requirements

There is a card issued for professionals in librarianship. This card allows to exercise the profession and is regulated by Law 11 of 1979. However, it is usual for librarians not to have this professional card; there is a large concentration of professionals in the main capital cities and in a large part of the country. Libraries are run by professionals from other areas, not necessarily graduate librarians.

Education

The level of training in Library and Information Science in Colombia is mainly bachelor; there are technical, technological and professional training programs. At the graduate level there is a specialization and a master's degree. Bachelor programs are taught by the universities Javeriana, La Salle, Antioquia, Quindío and INPAHU. The National Apprenticeship System SENA offers technical training and INPAHU has a technological program. Postgraduate studies are taught by the Javeriana University and the University of Antioquia.

Professional Publications

Inter-American Journal of Librarianship / Revista Interamericana de Bibliotecología

Revista Interamericana de Bibliotecología is a peer-reviewed scientific journal aimed at librarians, archivists and specialists in information science. It constitutes a reliable channel for the publication of original and unpublished articles, written in Spanish, English or Portuguese, and derived from research. It also welcomes theoretical studies, the revision works and the original reflections, which give an account of the progress of librarianship and its related disciplines, especially in Latin America. The Journal is published quarterly and can be obtained by subscription in its printed version, or by free access to its contents in the electronic version offered by its website.

Professional Events

Librarians' Day

At the national level, different celebrations are held for the Librarians' Day, which coincides with the day of the language, in April each year. Among other events, the celebration is held by the Department and the Information Science Career at the Javeriana University, where conferences are offered and it is an opportunity for students and graduates to exchange experiences.

National Congress of Librarians

The Congress occurs annually and brings together librarians from Colombia. It takes place in Bogotá.