What are Dutch libraries doing for refugees?

Libraries in the Netherlands responded to the call for ideas and actions by the Netherlands Public Library Association (VOB)


Libraries in the Netherlands responded to the call for ideas and actions by the Netherlands Public Library Association (VOB) . 

Below are some examples. The Library Journal (Bibliotheek Blad) collects all news regarding library actions.

A brainstorm meeting was organized by the National Library (KB) in cooperation with VOB to collect more ideas, especially for concerted action with refugee organisations. A working group will follow up, as many libraries asked for a nationwide programme.

Some local examples:

A number of existing refugees centres (AZC’s) often have a kind of library, partly built up by donations. Furthermore, refugees use the facilities of local libraries.

Biblionet Groningen: starts action for structural cooperation

Libraries in this region  Groningen, do all kind of activities with and for the people in the AZC’s: reading aloud sessions, donations of (picture)  books. Visits of refugees to libraries and Language cafés are organized.  Now it is time for  regional library service Biblionet to establish a more permanent cooperation structure  for these ad hoc activities. To start this a mobile library will tour the region and collect books and materials from libraries and private donors and bring them to AZC’s, including the necessary shelves.

Making connection with the refugees is supported by setting up a volunteer network for reading aloud sessions. Refugees receive symbolically paper and pen to write their stories. A journalist will be asked to write them down. This booklet will be sold as a donation for the refugees.

Library Heusden: three times a week courses for refugees

The contact of the library with Refugee Work resulted this summer in the set up of a location in the library branch Drunen, where courses are given by Refugee Work. The next step might be to welcome and organize activities for children.

Library Rotterdam: the youth panel collects  836 euro

Bieb010jong – the young adult department of the Rotterdam library organised a fundraising event: the Heart of Rotterdam.  Established former refugees  (designer, consultant, performer) told their story, to the public who could buy tasty food, have their nails  done or join in games. At the end they formed a living heart on the square in front of the library.

The entrance and game fees resulted in a donation of 836 Euros for Refugee Work Netherlands.

Library Venlo:  donation 250 books for refugee centre

The library has experience with working for refugees. It donated a collection of 250 books for their centre and gave a library card to all refugees, enabling them to use the library facilities. Reading international newspapers was also very favourite. The  AZC was closed  in July after 15 years of activity; it has quickly been reopened to accommodate the increasing influx of refugees. The library will increase  its supportive activities, knowing that most refugees will stay for a longer time.

 (Update 19 October 2015)



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