Serving the Refugees at Kedah Public Library, Malaysia

HASHIM, Norshahila, REHAN BAHAROM, Mohamad and AFFANDI ZAKARIA, Shahizan (2019) Serving the Refugees at Kedah Public Library, Malaysia. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 154 - Asia and Oceania.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Serving the Refugees at Kedah Public Library, Malaysia

Arriving in a new country with a different culture and language confronts all refugees with a challenge. To make their arrival easier, Kedah Public Library Corporation, Malaysia offer many services and by doing so contribute to a culture of welcoming. More libraries in many federal states want to ease the settling in of refugees by offering special services. For such activities, libraries usually cooperate with civic initiatives. Libraries primarily provide their media expertise; but beyond that, encounters between people and contact with locals facilitate getting to know the new surroundings. Kedah Public Library decided to serve the refugees as a social community. It is centre which the refugees can access all the information and services in Kedah Public Library Corporation. It is especially a meeting point for the great variety of local welcome initiatives. In cooperation with NTA School for Refugee Children and Baitul Rahmah Rohingya Learning Centre, aim at providing a diverse programme such as Group Membership, Library Visit, Children’s Club (Kelab Sinar Pintar Bayan Budiman), school holidays Fun Activities and monthly activities, a variety of consultation services, homework support, and multilingual reading for refugees children. It is a place of impressive community, social work and space of culture. Now, libraries play an important role in the acceptance and the resolution of conflict. Kedah Public Library is a place of culture where opportunities can arise. An open space on the world to improve its future. It makes us stronger. For this time, it give opportunities for libraries to serve refugees as well bring a better world for them. In view of the living conditions of refugees in temporary shelters without technical equipment and WLAN, the concept of the library as a place takes on special meaning: public libraries are low-threshold services, and they have sought to lower the bureaucratic hurdles even further. Library cards are issued free of charge, the otherwise required presentation of official papers is waived and premises, Internet access and media service are made available. The contribution of libraries to a welcoming culture consists in facilitating access to information, knowledge and encounters. Only once interest is awakened can libraries target the specific needs of the individual.

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