Library builds cultural bridges

Charles Sturt Council’s library service has won the prestigious Jim Crawford Award 2008 for an outstanding program to bridge cultures for Muslim refugees in western Adelaide, South Australia.

The program was aimed at helping new arrivals from the Middle East, Africa and Bosnia with their English literary skills and to connect them to social networks.

Delivered in partnership with the Muslim Women’s Association, the program has involved reading stories in both English and either Arabic, Somali or Bosnian, with newly arrived refugee mothers and children.

It has seen a number of the group become library users. The library service will receive a $10,000 prize for library or library staff development.

Local Government Association Director of Government Relations and Communications Mr Chris Russell said the Charles Sturt library showed a significant commitment to welcoming new residents and providing a practical way for them to develop social networks and literary skills.

Mr Russell said that all 2008 entries had shown elements of best practice and that their submissions are available to all Councils to share ideas and learning on:

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