Cultural Connections in Libraries: Embracing Cultural Diversity in Brisbane
Brisbane City Council's Community Arts Officer John Jeffrey introduces the Cultural Connections in Libraries program being implemented throughout his city, as large and small libraries host expos by culturally diverse communities from their catchment areas. The Libraries invite communities and individuals to participate in month long programs focussing on a particular community or a combination of communities. In its vision for the city - Living in Brisbane 2010 - Council has incorporated the themes of Creative Brisbane and Inclusive Brisbane. Council’s libraries were seen as an area where these objectives could be effectively implemented. Libraries, already the setting for many services designed to improve access for all people, including people of different languages and backgrounds, were identified as natural community hubs. The Cultural Connections in Libraries aims to add further vitality to the library's role as hub. It involves local communities of different cultural backgrounds in special focus activities that increases their visibility in positive ways. It strengthens their cross cultural connections; creates new relationships and networks within the wider local community; increases their sense of the local library as a safe and welcoming place to be and as a place for cultural expression. One third of the 32 public libraries have already hosted more than 20 of the city's diverse cultural communities.
Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Libraries, Community Hub, Inclusive City, Creative City
John Allen Jeffrey
Community Arts Officer, Community Development Services, Brisbane City Council