This year Derby held its first ever Book Festival, and the Refugee Advice Centre hosted a Literary Salon. There were 20 attendees from countries including Zimbabwe, Libya, Sudan, Iran, Tanzania, Syria, Nigeria, Eritrea and Afghanistan who each received novels as gifts from World Book Night via Community Action. The event was presented by a representative from Derby City Library, Trish Kenny. Through the workshop everyone was given a library card or application form to get one. Trish offered to try to get audio books and ESOL books, and literature in any language including Farsi, Arabic, Albanian and Tigrinya. Some would be more difficult to source but she assured us that the library team would do their best. There are already foreign language texts at the city library with a good selection of reading material available in Arabic. Trish gave out some Quick Reads and passed around a selection of CD’s, educational tools and academic books, saying that she particularly recommended books with large print, dual language text (ie. Arabic on left page/English on right page) and audio/CD selections. For families, there is a ‘Shake, Rattle & Rhyme Time’ for 0-3 year olds. For jobseekers, there is a Monday Job club downstairs at the library, with free tea, coffee and biscuits
One of the most exciting prospects from the day was that although Derby City Library is normally closed on Wednesdays, they have offered to open the library to sanctuary seekers with volunteers to help with reading at all levels and make friendships. This is incredibly kind of the library staff and a truly fantastic opportunity.