Posted by: bluesyemre | December 18, 2015

What #libraries should look like in the future


Libraries now need to offer more than books to stay relevant. Inspired by Scandinavian models, they are turning into lively meeting points and cultural hot spots. Makerspaces reflect the values of the sharing economy. You can hear all kinds of different languages: It’s noisy but the mood is cheerful in the bright room at the Cologne adult education center, right across from the city’s main library.

A “language area” has just opened here, which serves as an intercultural meeting point for refugees and other residents who still need to work on their German language skills. Free of cost, everyone can sit at one of the computers and get immersed in visual and audio learning programs or borrow language books and games.

Two North African teenagers sit in the children’s book section, thumbing through a picture book entitled “Let’s go shopping”: The pages show a typical German market stall packed with fruit and vegetables, each labeled neatly with its German name: Apfel, Aprikose, Pflaume, Kartoffel, Walnuss. Books meant for German pre-schoolers are useful for young refugees, too. “Gurke,” one of the boys laughs and points at the picture. “Cucumber,” the other says. Another word learned.

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