How Norway is using libraries as integration hubs

Author: Agnes Erickson

This article is part of Changing the Narrative. Articles in this series are written by student or early career journalists who took part in The Local’s training course on solutions-focused migration reporting. Find out more about the project here.

Can libraries expand their services to become an integration hub for new arrivals and minorities? That’s what Norwegian officials hope.

Norway has been using public libraries in the cities of Oslo, Trondheim, Stavanger and Kristiansand as an integration arena since 2011. A library is in a special position because they are found in all areas, are public, and enjoyed by both children and adults making it an ideal place for integration activities.

The largest public library in Norway, Deichman, offers a number of services and believes it to be a part of their social mission. The city councillor for culture, sports and volunteer work, Rina Mariann Hansen tells newspaper Dagsavisen, “the library has found a new role in the community arena. It’s no longer a place where one says ‘shhh’.” The inside of a library is an important place for development or just a meeting spot for everyone.


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