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Best Practices

On the Road to Integration

[Municipal Library in Prague, Czech Republic]

The above information about the number of foreigners living in Prague indicates the following key problems facing Prague and its integration activities: 

  • A large number of minorities to work with, 
  • Low degree of formal organization of minorities (and hardly any willingness to organize, sometimes because of illegal residence status), 
  • Relatively small willingness of the majority to seek new information about the “other” people. One may conclude in view of the above that although library strategies have traditionally included acquisition of items in many different languages, such as English, German, Slovak and Russian, there is now a need to acquire books in Vietnamese, Roma and Ukrainian and to go one step further, developing a collection that is vibrant, sufficiently extensive and regularly updated. In the past few years, the Municipal Library in Prague has been concentrating on raising awareness about public libraries as meeting places for different cultures, ethnic groups and religions. This direction will be increasingly important in the future and we need to be more sophisticated and proactive in approaching potential partners-minority organizations and using funding available from the city and grant providers. Key tasks of the Municipal Library in Prague as regards integration of foreigners remain unchanged: 
  • We must be more visible to them (foreigners should consider a visit to the library an ordinary activity), 
  • We must present foreigners to the mainstream society in the right ways and places to put in context differences and similarities in cultural and other aspects of life of different ethnic groups, 
  • We must assist in integration of foreigners by showing them everyday life in Prague and the Czech Republic.

Source: Libraries as Gateways to the Integration of Immigrants in the EU (MKC Prague)

Municipal Library in Prague
Marinánské nám. 1, 115 72 Prague 1
Czech Republic

With the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union.
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