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Porto wants to save a former library building by providing an example

Porto wants to save a former library building by providing an example

The idea is to give the space a new role and involve the public

Porto authorities announced today that they have plans for repurposing the building known as the Popular Library of Pedro Ivo as a cultural centre that alludes to its former function in a way. The Municipality revealed an agenda consisting of four events which will consequently take place one after another starting from 29 March and lasting until the end of the year. These have been organized by the local government but the idea is to inspire the community to take charge and organize events of its own starting next year.

The so-called Popular Library opened doors in 1948

The facility is located in the heart of the Marquis de Pombal Square and has stood there since 1948. It operated as a library specializing in children’s books but closed doors in 2012. It was later repurposed as a café but last year the municipality returned its rights over it after some legal disputes over rent.

The garden around the building and the building itself have been renovated recently and now the authorities announced the cultural programme they have devised to take place there.

In the first event (29 March – 15 July), the library will serve as the seat of the Rádio Estação project and an actual radio station will be set up there to broadcast on FM “constituting itself as a small open-air sound library”. The radio station will offer diverse readings presenting literature from all over the world for kids and parents.

The second phase, which will take place between 17 May and 10 July and is a collaboration with the Municipal Theatre of Porto, will present the work of artists who participate in the European Moving Borders project. This project involves artists from 7 European cities who question the concept of borders.

The third event (16 July – 12 September) will offer the ex-library’s building as an extension to the Porto Book Fair. The facility will centre on the output of the very figure that it has been named after – the writer Pedro Ivo and his German education, with a connection to the universe of the German romantic movement of the 19th century.

The final phase (October-December) will give the space to a cooperative cinema studio, which will write, produce, film and edit a feature film about the square and its history.

It is expected that all of the above will serve as examples and inspiration to civic organizations that will continue to organize events within a cultural framework and will take over from the Municipality.

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