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Within the project 'Libraries for All' we researched public libraries around the world and found some exemplary multicultural practices. This database aspires to be an inspiration to librarians, providing ideas on how to create a library that is welcoming and accessible for foreign library users. This database will be updated continuously.

Best Practices

New Americans Program (NAP)

[Queens Library, USA]
Queens Borough Public Library is a national model in the United States for providing services to immigrant communities. Former director Gary Strong’s philosophy that »immigrant service is customer service« indicates the level to which the library integrates services for immigrants in basic library services. ...more»

Services for Non-English-Speaking Patrons

[The New York Public Library, USA]
The New York Public Library coordinates services for non-English-speaking patrons primarily through its Office of Community Outreach Services (COS). ...more»

Library's and Information Services for Immigrants

[Stockholm Public Library, Sweden]
Rinkeby Branch Library serves a very multicultural suburb of Stockholm in which the large majority of inhabitants are of non-Swedish origin. It is an example of a library that has made a great effort to establish adequate services to its patrons originating from many countries. It maintains collections in about 20 languages, runs an extensive programming activity and has even initiated production of children’s books in relevant languages where no supply was available from other sources. ...more»

Information Services for Immigrants

[Helsinki City Library, Finland]
Helsinki Public Library, with its Central Multilingual Library Service, has developed its widespread services for immigrants by combining state funds with money from the city of Helsinki. ...more»

Series of Events

[Århus Kommunes Biblioteker, Denmark]
Gellerup branch library is an example of a library focusing very much on outreach activities, collaboration and networking with neighbourhood institutions, organizations and user groups. ...more»

International Library – Learn German and teach German

[Municipal Library in Frankfurt am Main, Germany]
The target group included adult migrants from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds who recently moved to Frankfurt and thought about learning German. The target group was later expanded to include participants of German language courses and literacy courses. ...more»

IT Courses for Immigrants

[The Hague Public Library, Netherlands]
The Public library of The Hague, Netherlands, started six years ago with "Telematicacentra". These computer labs were introduced in neighborhoods with a high percentage of immigrants. Courses for immigrants on learning to surf the Web were developed here. ...more»

Computer Center of Cultural Roots

[Gemeenetebibliotheek Utrecht , Netherlands]
With funding of the European Community, the library created a center on the cultural roots of different groups in the city in one of its branches. It was a success as a computer center where many different ethnic groups were introduced to searching on the Web as well as e-mailing and chatting with family members in Suriname, China or the Moluccas. The library is also frequently used for cultural programming. The objective to make this library a center of information on the different cultures, however, was not entirely successful. This is partly because although younger, second-generation people do want to learn about their roots and origins, they prefer to learn in Dutch as the language they master best. ...more»

Learning better Dutch at the Library!

[Gemeenetebibliotheek Utrecht , Netherlands]
An open offer of language programmes on the computers in the library. The same language-courses that are mostly used by the training centres (New Neighbours and Ice-breaker) available in the library near home;... ...more»

Staffing Policy and Cooperation

[Greve Bibliotek , Denmark]
Greve Library is a library system in the greater Copenhagen area serving a population of about 50,000 inhabitants in the municipality of Greve. Greve Library is an example of a relatively small library system that has actively focused on developing guidelines and services towards ethnic minorities. A librarian is appointed to a dedicated facilitator job function. In her job she focuses on outreach activities and works as a facilitator and mediator in contact with local authorities in a broad sense-for instance, town hall administration, social workers, schools and day-care facilities. ...more»

We Read the Newspaper – TOGETHER in Odense

[Odense Centralbibliotek, Denmark]
The project was targeted at unemployed women from the ethnic minorities, all of them having only a few competencies in the Danish language. The women in the project led rather isolated lives and had no contact with Danish society; they didn’t speak Danish with anyone on a daily basis. ...more»

Vollsmose Learning Centre

[Vollsmose Learning Centre in Vollsmose Library, Denmark]
Laeringscenter Vollsmose (LC) is a library project whose main purpose is to help the target group socialise and participate in local issues (empowerment) as well as achieves a level of information literacy that meets their needs and wishes. Laeringscenter Vollsmose also functions as a community technology centre. The target group is persons above 14 years of age with ethnic background other than Danish, living in the Vollsmose suburb of the municipality of Odense, Denmark. ...more»

Diversity in Libraries

[Multicultural Center Prague, Czech Republic]
Public libraries can offer a lot more than just a place to read or borrow books. They can play an important role in raising awareness of different cultures and promoting the integration of minority groups. This was the starting point of a three-year project coordinated by the Multicultural Centre in Prague and now in its second phase, which aims to disseminate the experience more widely in Europe. ...more»

Implementing Integration Activities

[Municipal Library in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic]
Our strategy is to expand our range of services to include members of other nationalities. Because of the language barrier, we would like to start by producing simple multilingual flyers with information about the library and services available to foreigners. One of the activities planned for November and December 2006 is the Family Next Door project which is to take place under the auspices of Slovo 21, an NGO. The great hall of the central library will host a meeting of selected schools (elementary and secondary schools and universities) and representatives of foreigners living in the Karlovy Vary Region. ...more»

On the Road to Integration

[Municipal Library in Prague, Czech Republic]
Considering the make-up of Prague's population and integration activities implemented by our library or other organizations thus far, it is not possible to speak of a unified theme or activity. ...more»

We Are All at Home Here

[Municipal Library in Ostrava, Czech Republic]
The Municipal Library in Ostrava is engaged in a year-long project entitled “We Are all at Home Here.” It is scheduled to be launched in 2007 and focuses on the Greek, Vietnamese, Roma, Polish and Slovak minorities and possibly also other minorities in the following years provided the model proves to be successful. ...more»

They Live Among Us – But Do We Know Each Other?

[Jiří Mahen Library in Brno, Czech Republic]
The library deliberately focused its first awareness raising effort on Vietnamese school children and their schoolmates. Most Vietnamese children living in the Czech Republic have been born here. They are members of the second (sometimes third) generation that has never visited Vietnam. Their knowledge of Czech makes it much easier to work and communicate with them. ...more»

Cooperation with the Roma Community

[Municipal Library in Rožnov pod Radhoštěm, Czech Republic]
"Three years ago, we still had a large Roma community in our city. We established a regular contact with Roma children through a community worker from the People in Need foundation. For two years, the library organized a monthly afternoon program full of entertainment and competitions for the foster home club as well as the general public." ...more»

The World Meets in Prague 11

[Municipal Library Prague, Jírovcovo nám. Branch, Czech Republic]
"We realize that we should serve to all readers as a gateway to today’s multicultural society, a mediator of mutual understanding and an extinguisher of possible mistrust which is often caused by ignorance or misunderstanding. This lies at the heart of all our multicultural activities. Our initial objective was to combine, in a convenient and natural way, two annual events taking place in the fall - Days of Prague 11 and the nationwide Week of Libraries. Both events target the people of Jižní Město of all nationalities which the library would like to turn into readers." ...more»

Cooperation with the Vietnamese Community

[Municipal Library in Cheb, Czech Republic]
From recognition to understanding, from understanding to coexistence the library started off by offering services to Cheb’s largest minority – the Vietnamese. However, there are also Chinese, Mongolian and Ukrainian communities living in and around Cheb. Throughout the year, we organize exhibitions, debates, lectures or fairytale children readings for and about these minorities. Since 2000, our multicultural activities take place under the joint heading from recognition to understanding, from understanding to coexistence. We have decided to introduce the Vietnamese minority in a slightly different light. ...more»

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With the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union.
support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Unionsupport of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union
© 2009 Project partners of the Libraries for All - ESME project

Immigrant InstituteMulticultural Center Pragueokay. zusammen lebenSAT 3Public Library of Frankfurt am Main