The growing number of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Germany present society with new challenges. Public and academic libraries alike have adjusted to the situation, reacted to the new population group, and developed services for all age groups of this population. Under the banners of “Welcoming Culture” and “Integration”, many libraries are venturing into unchartered territory.
In this context Inka Jessen, director of the Stuttgart City Library’s 17 branch libraries and mobile library, is undertaking a residency in the United States to exchange information on library services for refugees and immigrants with local experts in the field. This annual Librarian in Residence program is hosted by the Goethe-Institut New York, Bibliothek & Information International (BII) and will conclude with this panel.
Jessen will exchange with fellow panelists Fred Gitner, of the New Americans Program at Queens Library and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs on the challenges of providing services to refugees and immigrants, the place of libraries in the constellation of civil services for newcomers, and differing practices in the US and Germany.