Sunday, August 14, 2016

Reading Express; service for newcomers and refugees #WLIC2016

the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in Columbus, USA. In a session on libraries and the UN 2030 goals, Ingrid Bon (Rijnbrink, Netherlands - she presented) and Karien van Buuren (Rijnbrink, Netherlands) had authored Reading Express; service for newcomers and refugees (full paper at
This was a project "Voorlees Express", in the Netherlands. It was about a reading programme, carried out in the home or shelter where the refugee families live. The aim is reading to children, with the parents/carers there, to get a reading culture. There are a lot of aspects which the library offering the programme has to deal with: PR, getting funding, recruiting families, recruiting and training reader volunteers and quality control.
They aim to have 250 "matches" (reader-family) per season, with readings in Spring and in Autumn. Although there are volunteers, this is not free of cost. The costs are seen as part of ongoing reading programme. It does take up staff time (including training, getting official documents). However, this programme is seen as very important: making new entrants to the country feel at home, improve language skills, start a reading culture, get connection to the library, improve school performance and last but not least it is important that it is fun.
Also there is a new initiative with young adults, to help them improve their pronunciation of Dutch (which is so important for learning and employment): the results of this have been fast and obvious. They have had a pilot, and hope now for extra funding. Again, do look at the paper which has more information (this was the last paper in the session, and the speaker very effectively shortened her talk to finish within time, but it meant I couldn't capture everything).
Photo by Sheila Webber: therapy dog, WLIC 2016

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