The São Paulo Library, Brazil, has been built on the site of a former penitentiary, the scene in 1992 of the massacre of 111 prisoners, and this transformation of the urban space has in itself helped local people to recover their sense of self-esteem and to revitalise the area. The library serves as ‘a reference and laboratory’ for reading, self-directed learning and citizenship, and acts as a model for the 800 local libraries in the state. It’s a very inclusive space.