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The library

Opened in February, 2010, the São Paulo Library (local acronym BSP) is located in Parque da Juventude, on the site of the former São Paulo Detention House (known as Carandiru) in the northern area of São Paulo city. The quality of the collection, cultural activities and services have brought a new meaning to the space, turning it into a cultural square, place of acceptance and discovery. Built upon the concept of living library, BSP focuses on valuing people, their knowledge and the exchange of experiences.

Inspired by the best practices of public libraries in Chile and Colombia, it has received more than three million visitors and aims at promoting the incentive to culture, reading and literature. Its structure was planned to provide both comfort and autonomy to visitors, who are the key elements of the library.

Among other fronts, BSP offers equipment and spaces that enable the population to have access to production and cultural expression on a national level. Moreover, as a laboratory of innovative practices focused on the experience of its users, it permanently hosts courses and events organized by the State System of Public Libraries ( SisEB), geared towards training sessions for the teams of municipal public libraries that are part of the System.

With free admission and a diversified programming, BSP also offers content in different formats, such as physical books or in braille, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, physical and digital games, toys, magazines and newspapers. It occupies an area of 4,257 square feet to serve its audience- children, young people, adults and the elderly with or without deficiencies. The library has computers, wireless network and a self-service terminal, as well as a room for electronic games, a game room and an auditorium.

Finalist in the category of Library of the Year of the 2018 International Excellence Awards, granted during the London Book Fair, one of the most prestigious events of the sector, BSP has already received the IPL award (2016) in the category of Best Library of the Year and the Inclusion Actions Award (2013) of the State Secretary of Rights of the Person with a Deficiency.

São Paulo Library (BSP) is a cultural facility of the Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy of São Paulo State Government, managed by the Social Organization SP Leituras (elected one of the best NGOs in Brazil for the third consecutive year).

São Paulo Library was conceived to be a modern, multimedia space with total accessibility, an innovative project of social inclusion through reading. Its structure was designed to provide both comfort and autonomy to users (members) - key elements of the library. Differently from other libraries, BSP makes literature available along with other media, such as the Internet, TV and electronic games. It is the so called ‘living library’!

Installed in Parque da Juventude, a mixed-use building with very suitable characteristics for its new purpose, São Paulo Library innovates by prioritizing stimulus to reading rather than being just a place for research and reference. Divided into two floors with special focus on literature and digital media, BSP has a collection of 42,923 works among physical books or in braille, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, physical and digital games, toys, newspapers and magazines.

The building has an ample area with zenithal lighting, which provides great flexibility to the internal layout. The structure is made up by two pillars and 10 beams, spaced 10 meter apart. The furniture gained fun colorful tones and serigraphy with ludic compositions was chosen for the glasses to offer more privacy for readers and researchers. The biblioteca is organized as a bookstore, with the aim of attracting all audiences, even those who are not used to reading.

The space is made up by a ground floor with a reception, the collection, an auditorium for 90 people and reading modules for children and adolescents. The existing terrace on this floor was covered with a tensioned structure that reminds nautical tents and hosts a coffee shop, living rooms and space for performances.

Besides multimedia areas, the upper floor hosts the collection and several reading spaces, one of which is exclusive for adults. Special furniture such as tables for the visually impaired was installed, as well as handicap-friendly ergonomic tables. To meet accessibility standards, the space has tactile paving, handrails with two heights, braille inscriptions and suitable access ramps and thresholds.

Terraces of the upper floor facing the east and west façades, which get more sunshine, were covered with pergolas made with eucalyptus laminates from reforestation and polycarbonate, providing a pleasant space for performances and living area. The other façades are made up of pre-molded concrete plates with colored textured finish.

The collection

The physical collection of São Paulo Library counts on more than 42 thousand diversified items, and is updated on a weekly basis. The focus lies on national and foreign literature (German, Japanese, Italian and American, among others). It also features works on Philosophy, Religion, Self-help, Sports, Biographies and History. Besides books, DVDs, magazines, newspapers and comic books, board games and other games can also be found.

The fascination of adults, young people and children for the digital world is one of the possibilities of bringing them closer to reading practices. For this reason, counting on electronic access is also a great opportunity for cultural and social inclusion, as well as entertainment.

The cultural programming

Diversified for several audiences, in-person and online. Such is the cultural agenda at BSP. It includes storytelling, games and play for children, workshops and courses for young people, soirée, luau and chess. Chats with renowned writers, courses, workshops, reading clubs and audiobook. All free of charge!


Today, libraries are synonyms with dynamic, attractive and inclusive spaces for all social classes and above all, full of new offers!

Welcoming, friendly, comfortable, colorful, airy and beautiful environment. Gentle, caring and dedicated service, which aims at receiving and integrating the community.

This is the way BSP welcomes visitors and makes services available to them.

Here it is possible to watch movies, listen to music, play board games, games or just relax at one of the many living areas by reading a book, magazine or newspaper.

There are more than 90 computers for people to access the Internet free of charge for two hours a day. It has an area dedicated to accessibility with furniture and equipment for people with special needs.

BSP uses a system of information management, which controls all routines of a library, making it easier for users to enter and leave the facility, enabling them to borrow titles of their interest without using counter services.

The ground floor, dedicated to children and young people, is organized by age group.

Individual and group reading, drama, movies, the Internet, and board games and cards, among other activities, aim at developing the interest in books and the library.

Moreover, parents and/or caregivers may remain close to the little ones, joining them in the activities proposed. Special attention should be given to storytelling groups, who fascinate and involve the family with pure magic by using creativity and fantasy.

On the floor for adults there is a varied collection with releases from the publishing industry and awarded works. Newspapers, magazines, movies of different genders, songs and computers with access to the Internet may be found there. There is also Espaço +60 and the +18 space, which offers a collection geared towards this public.


Our concern about supporting inclusion and autonomy for people with disabilities ranges from providing services and offering collections to making assistive technology equipment available to them. Our collection includes books in braille, audiobooks and text- to- speech books.

We make special furniture for people in wheelchairs available (table at an adjustable height) and devices to assist the visually impaired (blind or those with low vision) when reading, such as electronic magnifying glasses, adapted keyboard and mouse, as well as computers with screen readers.

The cultural program of the library seeks to promote accessibility and inclusion to all audiences in an integrating format through several activities such as board and sensorial games, storytelling with sign language, courses, workshops and events.

Acceptance/ Diversity

São Paulo Library hosts a very diverse audience. Teams are constantly preparing themselves to serve this audience in a humane and empathetic way. The work of the Social Service Nucleus has been developed since the opening of the library in 2010. With the aim of promoting moments of acceptance and dialog, as well as getting to know the surrounding areas to bring communities closer to the library, our social assistants guide and mediate conflict situations, providing visitors with a pleasant experience.

Location, hours, and admission

Address: Cruzeiro do Sul, 2630 - Santana, São Paulo, SP, Brazil, CEP 02030-100

Service hours: From Tuesday to Sundays and holidays, from 9h30 am to 06h30 pm. It remains closed on December 24th, 25th, and 31st and on January 1st and Carnival Tuesday.

Free admission

Accessibility: The library has two elevators with tactile signals, as well as accessibility equipment.

How to get to the library: The closest subway station isCarandiru (Linha 1 – Azul).

Points of reference: BSP is located in Parque da Juventude, with entrance next to the exit of Carandiru station, across from ETECs buildings.

Parking information: Parque da Juventude has a paid parking lot, managed by a company not linked to the library. BSP has a bicycle rack (lock is at the visitor’s responsibility)

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