ALA Unit/Subunit: ALA
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.
As the international refugee and asylum seekers population continues to grow worldwide, countries beyond the United States are facing increasing challenges to provide services and resources for them. Many social service agencies confront these challenges; prominent among them are libraries in many communities. The work of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) directly relates to these challenges, and this program will use several of their initiatives as a basis for the presentation of examples and discussion.
The partnership between ALA and the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) offers examples and initiatives that recognize and address these challenges. Its director, Dr. Clara M. Chu will relate the work of the IMLS-funded Project Welcome: Libraries and Community Anchors Planning for Resettlement and Integration of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, which aims to learn about and articulate ways libraries can address the information needs of refugees and asylum seekers in order to support and empower them in their resettlement and integration process. Dr. Rebecca L. Miller (BiblioDev LLC) and Dr. Karen E. Fisher (University of Washington, Information School and Consultant, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR Jordan) will share reports of local library-associated refugee service programs within refugee camps in countries such as Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Germany, Sweden and Denmark that provide models for action and assessment. Our presenters will report on their experiences with libraries outside the United States that are supporting capacity building through literacy, including story time. They will share examples of successful programs and also raise issues regarding both the concerns and conditions impacting libraries abroad as they address the needs of refugee and immigrant populations. An essential issue for libraries to address is how they can become a trusted source of information for communities with little to limited experience with libraries. Dr. Peter Deekle (Peace Corps Community for the Support of Refugees) will moderate the panel, followed by small group discussion.