the future of libraries in the digital age
Your Name and Title: Matilde Fontanin
Library, School, or Organization Name: University La Sapienza (Rome) and University of Trieste - Italy
Area of the World from Which You Will Present: Italy (Europe)
Language in Which You Will Present: English
Target Audience(s): Librarians, social workers and public administrators (especially in areas with centers for asylum seekers or other populations not speaking the local language)
Short Session Description (one line): How asylum seekers and locals learnt from each other at the library
Full Session Description (as long as you would like):
This is a story from real life from which some lessons could be drawn. The experience took place in a small town in Northern Italy, where over 10 years previously a center for asylum seekers had been established, answering the pressure of population movements from the Middle East and Africa - above all - to Europe. The town never hosted foreigners in its history, except for a couple of families after the 90ies, so the sight of groups of young men - prevalently from Pakistan and Afghanistan - walking in the street was a cause for distress for many.
In this context the local administration organised a series of meetings at the local library entitled "Conversescion" - a joke on the way the word "Conversation" would be spelt in Italian - to invite the local population to learn English from the asylum seekers.
The story here reports the speakers' impressions: what participants learnt, who learned from whom, in what way the fact of holding the meetings at the library made a difference, what worked and what did not.
Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: Conversescion Facebook group