Hiperbarrio is a community of young bloggers from Medellín Colombia who use public libraries as the meeting point to exchange ideas and knowledge. The library is the gate trough which they connect to the world and their local heritage and the place where the creation of new content and media products is encouraged and shown to several audiences using web technologies.
Hiperbarrio has become a new way for local communities to face the challenges that the globalization era imposes over them. It is an opportunity for this communities to rescue their historical memory and to reflect about their place in society and take action. The library as a place for cultural development gets another dimension, and by simple means, which are telling stories to the world, we have built community, we have find new ways of expression and we have contributed in creating new opportunities for many people in a country where they are absolutely required.
Founded 3 years ago, Hiperbarrio-Colombia is a diverse outreach community project situated in working class neighborhoods that by allowing people access to internet and appropriation of digital media, is reshaping the role and reinterpreting the meaning of the public library as a meeting point of exchange of ideas, arguments and self- expression, in many cases transferring them into the virtual environment.
Our proposal defines the library as “a connecting axis of knowledge” and the space where a diversity of people can merge and discuss several distinct visions of reality without limiting themselves to the consumption of information. They actually engage themselves in an active process of creation, design, production and broadcasting of new local content aimed to connect with a wider global larger network of communities called Rising Voices Outreach, an integral part of Global Voices on Line, perhaps the most important global enterprise in the area of citizen journalism.
HiperBarrio gets inspiration from the idea that transparency in social exchanges and the defense of the public good and are interested in the welfare of all human beings and not just those who have been historically privileged by economic or social reasons.
Despite of some advances, in a country like Colombia where, violence and social exclusion remain a constant, Hiperbarrio has managed to enable groups of young people in vulnerable areas of their cities to find new options to their education and training. They have become more aware of their rights and duties as citizens, and new skills that allow them to move with greater ease in the Knowledge Society and out of that ominous and downward spiral that feeds on poverty and violence.
The stories of those who “inhabit” HiperBarrio are the ones who give true an real meaning to this particular “place.” In HiperBarrio is easy to find women who do not participate in Beauty Contests but that manage to apply for,run and win in the city´s Annual Talented Women Competition. In HiperBarrio is possible to find a couple of young people who were wielding a rifle, just a while ago, and now embrace a digital or video camera in their hands in order to train others and replicate their knowledge in other areas of their city. You find those who had never traveled on an airplane before and now go around the world sharing the lessons they have learned, people who connect to remote locations via the web, experts that share their knowledge with other minds eager to learn.
In Medellin, we are transforming the future, Hiperbarrio is our place in the future.