Parlar de la Biblioteca Can Butjosa a la New York Public Library

El 2 de desembre vaig tenir l’oportunitat de presentar la feina que fem a la Biblioteca Infantil i Juvenil Can Butjosa, a una trentena de bibliotecaris juvenils, en una reunió de treball de la New York Public Library. Va ser una experiència fantàstica i els bibliotecaris van ser molt amables.

Us deixo amb el vídeo i el text de la presentació. Va ser tot un honor poder representar la biblioteca a New York!

Good morning everybody.

My name is Gisela Ruiz and I am the Library Director of Children and Youth Can Butjosa Public Library in Parets del Vallès, Barcelona, Catalonia. I am here in NY doing research about how NY libraries attract and grow the teen audience. I am getting into the NYPL system, the Brooklyn Public Library system and the Queens Library one.

First of all, I would like to thank Emily and Katrina for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with you and for welcoming me so warmly. I am really enjoying my experience here at the NYPL.

It is difficult to talk about the library where I work because it is rare and unique. In fact, Children and Youth Can Butjosa Public Library, which in the future I will refer to as “Can Butjosa”, and Massagran Library are the only public libraries specialized on children and teenagers among 380 public libraries Catalonia. There were other libraries like our many years ago, but they were merged with adult libraries, following the library system you have here at NYPL where all the users are together in one building.

As I can not explain you in words how the library is, I have prepared a little video to show it to you. So, please, prepare yourself for this imaginary trip to a magical place: a unique, rare and marvelous library. We will not travel by airplane or train; we will use our imagination. So, now close your eyes. I will say the magical words and we will all be transported to Catalonia. Are you ready?

“Mànec de paella, dent de lleó, fes que aquestes orelles escoltin amb atenció!”

VIDEO: Children and Youth Can Butjosa Public Libray.

Can Butjosa is placed in Parets del Valles, a small city 20 minutes away from Barcelona, in Catalonia. There are almost 19000 inhabitants living there. There are two libraries in the city: ours, specialized in children and young adults, and Can Rajoler Public Library for all kind of people. That it is unusual because by law, a city as big as ours must only have one library.

Can Butjosa was opened in 1983 because of an agreement between Generalitat de Catalunya (Catalan Government) and Ajuntament de Parets (Local Government).

Our mission is to introduce children, teenagers, young adults and their families into reading and books, as we think reading is a powerful tool to know oneself, understanding and enjoying life, and also for strengthening our communities in a way to make a better word. I often paraphrase the popular music motto “Pop will make us free” by saying “Books will make us free”. Don’t you agree with that?

So what we do, basically, is to find the better match between a book and a child or a teenager that will allow them to enjoy a love relationship that we hope will last forever!

We work together with families, schools and local services, such as Social Services, as we think they are essential for creating new readers.

For example, we have a successful 20-year reading program named Pla de Lectura (Reading Program) in which we work hand-in-hand with all public schools of our city to convey the passion for books from 1st to 6th Grade. Each month we present books, perform storytimes and have book discussions with the kids about the books they choose to read.

Our library is also a member of the Parets Municipi Lector (Parets Reading City), a city program that promotes reading for children and teenagers. Parets Municipi Lector is made up of all public schools, middle and high schools, libraries, and local cultural organizations.

We have a lot of programs addressed to different users: from newborns to young adults but I would like to introduce you to two of them; the ones I believe are special and unique among the other libraries in Catalonia.


The first program I would like to mention is Viatges de l’Andana 9 i ¾. This program consists of imaginary trips through time and its main goal is to introduce children to the life and work of relevant writers and illustrators. We read biographies and essays of the work of a concrete author and then we write a screenplay that an amateur young adult actor from our city will perform. Also, we create an activity for children and their families related to the work of the chosen author. Since 2015 we have travelled to:

  • Copenhagen 1862 to meet Hans Christian Andersen.
  • Tiana 1960 (a town close to Barcelona) to meet Lola Anglada, a Catalan illustrator born in 1893.
  • Paris 1937 to meet Mercè Llimona, a Catalan illustrator and writer born in 1914.
  • Africa 1933 to meet Roald Dahl.

Our library received an Honorable Mention for Innovative Practices in Public Libraries 2015 by Library Services Department of the Catalan Government.

I would like to show you a video of this activity.

VIDEO: Viatge de Primavera: Àfrica 1933 amb Roald Dahl       


Finally, I would like to talk you about a Volunteer Program addressed to young adults. In this program young adults have the opportunity of developing different activities to help children with special needs, children in the nearest hospital who have to be in surgery, and children with reading programs. It is a social program and those young adults involved in it, helps all kinds of children to become a member of the society through reading and books. It is not a literacy program; they do not teach kids to read. Instead they help them to express their feelings by reading books. There are different programs in it:

  • Apadrinatge i Bibliomòbil: Reading partners (they meet once a week in the library or at the child home and read together books).
  • Recer de Contes: Storytime at the hospital.
  • Sant Jordi a les escoles: Storytime at the schools and kindergartens of Parets for Sant Jordi Day (Catalan National Book Day).
  • Lectures a Mida: Reading partners with old people living in old people’s homes.
  • Equip B: a group of kids with problems to mix with other people.
  • Taller d’Il·lustració: a group of kids with problems to express their feelings, lead by a professional illustrator

I have a video to show you one of this programs, Sant Jordi a les Escoles.

VÍDEO: Sant Jordi a les escoles 2016.

Thank you very much for your attention. If you have any questions I will be delighted to answer them.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s