The Community of Madrid presents the 25th edition of Libros a la Calle (Books to the Streets) to bring literature to public transport
This year, the Community of Madrid celebrates the 25th anniversary of Libros a la Calle, an initiative –in collaboration with the Madrid Publishers' Association, (Asociación de Editores de Madrid) AEM– , which aims to bring literature to public transport users in the region. Plastic strips with texts by prominent writers will be placed inside Metro trains and on city and intercity buses to arouse passengers' interest in literature.
The Regional Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, Marta Rivera de la Cruz, went to Chamartín Metro station today to see this year's selected passages. The Deputy Regional Minister for Transport and Infrastructures, Carlos Díaz-Pache, also took part in the event. They were joined by the president of the Madrid Publishers' Association (Asociación de Editores de Madrid, AEM), Manuel González Moreno, the managing director of EMT, Alfonso Sánchez Vicente, the managing director of the Regional Transport Consortium, Luis Miguel Martínez Palencia, and the general director of CEDRO, Jorge Corrales.
On this occasion, a total of 7,200 plastic strips with fragments of 20 works will be installed on Madrid's underground cars and on the buses of the Regional Transport Consortium. All of them feature illustrations by prominent artists such as Naranjalidad, Ángel Luis Sánchez, Lady Desidia, Manuel Marsol, and Paco Roca himself.
This year's edition covers all kinds of genres, such as poetry (Poemas a Amanda by Carmen Conde), theatre (Teatro 1989-2014 by Juan Mayorga), and comics (La casa by Paco Roca). In addition, on this occasion, special importance has been given to the tale and the short story with Por fin solos, by Cristina Peri Rossi; Mercado de Barceló, by Almudena Grandes; La oveja negra y demás fábulas, by Augusto Monterroso, or Siete novelas cortas, by Carmen Laforet. Children's literature also has its place in Libros a la Calle with several texts, including the work Un hilo me liga a vos, by Beatriz Giménez de Ory, winner of the National Children's Fiction Prize 2021.
The link between the Madrid underground and literature is a constant. In 2021, a competition was launched to create the Elige tu destino (Choose your Destination) initiative, a literary map of Metro de Madrid, to promote reading and introduce users to great works. This meant that the stations were renamed after readers' and passengers' favourite titles.
The platforms at Plaza de España station are also themed with the complete works of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, and at Ríos Rosas station with Fortunata y Jacinta, on the occasion of the centenary of the death of Benito Pérez Galdós in 2020.
In addition, the Madrid underground organised the Metrorrelatos Literary Contest in 2022 and the Entrelíneas micro-story contest in 2012, and has Bibliometros, a free book lending system located in twelve stations on the network (Nuevos Ministerios, Canal, Puerta del Sur, Puerta de Arganda, Embajadores, Mar de Cristal, Aluche, Sierra de Guadalupe, Moncloa, Carabanchel Alto, Legazpi, and Chamartín).
The purpose of the initiative and the promotion of reading has permeated the population of Madrid, which has the highest reading rate (during leisure time) in the country: 73.5% compared to the national average of 64.4%, according to the “Reading and Buying Books Habits in Spain in 2021” report, produced by the Federation of Publishers' Guilds of Spain (Federación de Gremios de Editores de España, FGEE).