German libraries reinvent themselves

bookAccording to an article in American Libraries Direct, the Cologne Public Library in Germany has found ways to remain relevant in the current digital age. First is its focus on welcoming immigrants into the community, having added a sprachraum, or language space. This space acts as a meeting point and place of learning for the 13,000+ migrant residents of the city. Weekly workshops (run by volunteers) are offered to refugees,  with topics ranging from German vocabulary to finding a place to live. Many libraries are also offering “maker spaces”, a current term, that allow patrons to experience new technologies such as 3D printers and virtual reality glasses. And of course, the German libraries cater to their patrons’ need for refreshments, offering cafes in study rooms and children’s areas. Some food for thought, especially since patronage in German public libraries has grown by 5 million people between 2013 and 2015, as reported in the article.


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