Diversity in Libraries[Multicultural Center Prague, Czech Republic]
In 2002, the Multicultural Centre in Prague coordinated a project, ‘Diversity in Libraries’, aimed at developing the role of public libraries in promoting intercultural understanding and dialogue. Free literature was distributed to 500 libraries in the four countries of the project partners – the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. The literature included information about the history, traditions and present-day situation of countries and communities represented locally, as well as books about general issues related to migrant and minority groups. Competitions were organised by libraries to encourage children to think about the valuable features of their own and other cultures. In the Czech Republic, cultural events took place to promote use of the new resources. Librarians attended specially-created training sessions to develop their intercultural awareness and discuss practical ways of promoting understanding and inclusion. A website was created to help librarians, with practical guidance and information, including a multicultural books acquisition service.
To disseminate the results of the ‘Diversity in libraries’ project more widely across Europe, a second stage is now underway. “Libraries as gateways” sets out to engage new libraries in implementing the most successful activities from the first stage. Market research amongst both Czech libraries and users from minority groups will help inform the implementation. The aim is to produce guidelines which distil the experiences of the partners, with examples of best practice and ideas for promotional activities. The guidelines will be made available not only to libraries but also schools and local authorities, which can inform policy at a higher level. On a more European scale, this will help libraries realise their potential as a unique space for the meeting of cultures.
Source: Intercultural Dialogue Conference: Best Practices and Community Level (EU)
Multicultural Center Prague
Vodičkova 36 (Palace Lucerna), 116 02 Prague 1