I Love Living in Downtown Medellin!
Okay, the EPM Public Library is not sexy, but it seems like people only want to read about Medellin’s guilded layer and not its real character.
I live in Las Torres de Bombona, and I wish I could describe to you how much I love my mid-day walk from my apartment complex to the EPM Public Library. Las Torres de bombona is a 3 building apartment complex with bars and restaurants on the first floor and a theater in the basement. It takes me approximately 15 minutes to get to the EPM public library. Las Torres de Bombona are located east of Avenida Oriental between Ayacucho and Bombona street on Girardot. So if you check out the map here:
you can see that I have to cross Parque San Antonio and go through part of El Hueco then walk down Carabobo street to get to el Parque de las luces and ultimately to the library.
This fifteen minute walk is sheer pleasure for me. I am a downtown type of guy. I like the hustle and bustle, the smog, the noise pollution, the fact that I have to be on the look out for the occasional pickpocket, and if I spot the ever illusive Guanabana (Soursop) juice man I stop to get a cup (with extra pulp) for 1,000 pesos. As I walk I often wonder if Paisas ever feel this glee I feel while walking through downtown.
Once I get to el Parque de las luces I like to walk through the 300 obelisks and ponder what their meaning is (by the way, they all light up at night, it’s pretty awesome.)
Empresas Públicas de Medellín (Medellin Public Companies) or EPM is the main company in a conglomerate of 12 utility companies in Antioquia, namely water and electricity companies. EPM was established in 1955 in Medellin; now EPM is an enormous company with projects throughout Colombia and even in Panama.
La Biblioteca EPM, the EPM Public Library was inaugurated on the 2nd of June, 2005. It’s construction was a joint effort with the city of Medellin to revitalize the Ciscnero Plaza which was in bad shape.
Cisnero Plaza, which is now better known as El Parque De Las Luces, is the name of the area where the EPM library is located. It’s called Cisnero’s Plaza in homage to Cuban engineer Francisco Javier Cisneros who was in charge of the construction of the Antioquia railway system.
The first thing one notices upon reaching the library is its architecture. It looks big and clunky with a modern touch. There is usually a group of guys playing dominoes in the shade provided by the building.
When I open the door at the entrance I am hit with a gust of cool air. I greet the guards at the door who operate the metal detectors and go through. If you have a laptop with you will have to register it with the security guards and check it in every time you visit.
On the first floor you will find roughly 30 computers, which one can use for free. Sometimes there’s a line of people waiting to use the computers, non the less a great resource.
You will also find a video library. One can come, check out a movie and watch it on one of the six big screen t.v.’s.
Behind the video library section you will find the cafeteria. I always get a cappuccino, $2,200.
The first floor has the magazine and newspaper section where you can do light reading. The second floor has books on more specific topics, mostly in Spanish. The third floor has books about more specialized topics and a catalog of specialized magazines that are 90% in English. The selection of books is thorough, and the cataloging is all digital as you would expect from any modern library.
I usually post up at one of the long desks on the second floor. The chairs are comfortable and the natural light that comes in through the large windows makes for a pleasant atmosphere.
The EPM public library encapsulates the Paisa spirit of innovation, progress, and pride. Although I really like where I live, I do not like to stay home all day. I usually spend about four hours working, meeting clients, or just reading at the EPM library.
Place: Biblioteca EPM
Address: Carrera 54 #44-48, Plaza de Cisneros, Centro
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:10am-5:30pm
Metro Station: Alpujarra on line A or Cisneros on line B
On the occasion that I stay until the library closes I usually opt to catch a cab back to Las Torres de Bombona. I don’t like to walk through downtown with my laptop when I’m tired, that would be too much papaya given. Despite the area being sketchy, there are no other drawbacks. I highly recommend a visit to the library. I hope to see you there soon!
Hello, my name is Andrew Macia and I am the founder of the Medellin Buzz. I am an advanced level English teacher here in Medellin, and I also have a website development, and marketing company which I run from home.
My idea with the Medellin Buzz is to push those who are learning English and to motivate those who are considering the option of learning English here in Medellin.
Great post! I always think about.going in there & then chicken out! What is the selection of English books like?