Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

TinyCat’s February Library of the Month: The Starfish Foundation Library

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

The Starfish Foundation Library—a wonderful multilingual library founded in February 2021 on the Greek island of Lesvos—is TinyCat’s Library of the Month. The Foundation’s volunteers, including Jessica Volmar, who fielded my questions this month, work diligently to help local and migrant communities in need.

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Starfish Foundation was started by locals on Lesvos in 2015, who witnessed one of the world’s greatest humanitarian disasters unfolding on their shorelines with thousands of refugees arriving. The target group of most of the activities are mainly refugees, but Starfish Foundation has widened the target groups and now also reaches many local people and organizations. One of our projects is the Library Project, which includes a multilingual library in the city Mytilene and a mobile library in the refugee camp Mavrovouni.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Life in a refugee camp is very difficult and many people have been stuck here for years. With the Library Project we can provide the residents books for education and pleasure. Our diverse collection consists of around 6000 books in more than 15 languages – including Farsi, Arabic and French, the most common languages in the camp. The vast majority of the books are donations from all over the world. Our library in Mytilene is a great space where locals and refugees meet, which promotes inclusion and cohesion.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I love the childrens books that have their text in English and Arabic or Farsi. Those are not only popular with children but also adults, as it is a fun and playful way to learn and improve a language.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Some books in certain languages are really hard to get. For example Somali – there are many refugees from Somalia who frequently ask for books in their language, but it’s hard to get them.

What is your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

It’s very easy to find books, especially with the language tags, which is an important factor of the refugees living in the camp.

Want to learn more about the Starfish Foundation? Visit their website at https://www.asterias-starfish.org/, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat


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