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Library Services to Minority Groups in The Netherlands

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  • CIA The World Fact Book – Netherlands
  • According to CIA World Factbook, as of 2006,the religious makeup of the Netherlands wasRoman Catholic 30%, Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%, Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42%.
  • LIBR562 Final Group Project

    1. 1. Library Services for Minority Groups in the Netherlands <br />By SoyeongJeon, Matt Ruen, Ashley Leonard and Dana Logalbo-Baij<br />
    2. 2. Library Services to minorities in the Netherlands<br />Our presentation is focused on library initiatives and services implemented by libraries in the Netherlands which targeted minority groups, namely immigrant populations.<br />We intent to look at the history of Dutch governmental policies on immigration as well as examining European Union legislation on the issue.<br />We will examine several Dutch library websites and evaluate their usability, from the perspective of an individual with limited or no competency in the Dutch language. <br />Finally, we will discuss the difficulties we had in researching this subject matter<br />
    3. 3. Netherlands<br />The Netherlands is slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey and the 27th most densely populated country.<br />Population : 16,847,007(2011 est.)<br />Urbanization population: 83% of total population <br />Major cities: AMSTERDAM (capital) 1.04 million; Rotterdam 1.01 million; The Hague (seat of government) 629,000(2009)<br />
    4. 4. Netherlands demographic<br />Age structure:<br />0-14 years: 17% <br />15-64 years: 67.4% <br />65 years and over: 15.6% <br />Median age : male: 40.3 years female: 41.9 years <br />Population growth rate : 0.371% (2011 est.)<br />Net migration rate : 2.33 migrant(s)/1,000 population<br />Languages: Dutch (official), Frisian (official)<br />Literacy: (2003 est.) <br /> total population: 99% male: 99% female: 99% <br />School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total 17 years<br />
    5. 5. Ethnic Groups (2008)<br />
    6. 6. Religious makeup of the Netherlands <br />
    7. 7. From Tolerance to anti-Tolerance<br />The following is a link to a video about immigration politics in The Netherlands:<br />“The right-wing populist Geert Wilders is campaigning on an anti-immigration platform in upcoming elections in the Netherlands.”<br />(Deutsche Welle, June 2010)<br /><br />
    8. 8. Ethnic Minority Policies<br />Welfare Policy (1970s)<br /><ul><li> housing, education, health care and welfare for guest workers</li></ul>Ethnic Minorities Policy (1980s) <br /><ul><li> support and empower different ethnic minority communities</li></ul>Integration Policy (1990s)<br /><ul><li>multiculturalism, equal participation & non-discrimination</li></ul>New Integration Policy (2000s) <br /><ul><li>unity and shared citizenship became the goal, instead of diversity and multiculturalism</li></li></ul><li>New Immigration Laws <br /> The Aliens Act 2000 <br />Civic Integration Abroad Act 2006 <br />Civic Integration Examination Dutch Language and Culture Test at 133 Dutch embassies around the world<br />
    9. 9. International Perspectives: IFLA<br />Two subcommittees of the International Federation of Library Associations focus on services to minority populations:<br />The Section for Library Services to People With Special Needs<br />Supporting library services to the disabled, impaired, elderly, hospitalized, or imprisoned.<br />The Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section<br />Supporting library services designed to meet the needs of cultural and linguistic minorities.<br />
    10. 10. The Multicultural Library Manifesto<br /><ul><li>“Cultural and linguistic diversity is the common heritage of humankind and should be cherished and preserved for the benefit of all….Libraries of all types should reflect, support, and promote cultural and linguistic diversity at the international, national, and local levels…”
    11. 11. In 2008, IFLA’s Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section drafted the Multicultural Library Manifesto.
    12. 12. Recommends ‘key missions’ for multicultural libraries, including promoting positive effects of cultural diversity, encouraging participation from diverse groups, and supporting access to multicultural information.
    13. 13. Calls on governments to fund these key missions and on academia for more research into best practices for supporting diversity.
    14. 14. Endorsed by UNESCO in 2009</li></li></ul><li>Regional Perspective: The European Union<br />The EU’s main library-related initiatives do not directly address minority and immigrant issues. Instead, focused on digitization, cooperation between library systems, and the creation of an Information Society.<br />However, two particular areas of EU policy and activity do relate to library services for minorities:<br />The Charter of Fundamental Rights of The European Union: <br />1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. (Chapter II, Article 11: Freedom of expression and information)<br />Lifelong Learning Programme2007-2013. Programme goals include:<br />Contribute to increased participation in lifelong learning by people of all ages, including those with special needs and disadvantaged groups.<br />Promote language learning and linguistic diversity.<br />
    15. 15. Regional Initiative: Libraries for All: European Strategy for Multicultural Education (2008-2010)<br />Funded in part by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme<br />Pilot program turning local public library systems in 4 countries into “Libraries for All”<br />Increased focus on multicultural services.<br />Closer connection to immigrant communities.<br />Promoting integration and cultural exchange.<br />Aims to provide a path for other libraries to follow: “to initiate an EU-wide upgrade of local public libraries and to create new models for intercultural library services.”<br />Project results:<br />Handbook and guidelines based on libraries’ experiences.<br />Online information portal including examples of best practices in Europe and elsewhere , as well as links to useful resources.<br />
    16. 16. Dutch public libraries: literacy initiatives<br />Easy to Read Squares<br />Targeted at children aged 8 to 12 years old with literacy problems<br />Squares are located in a designated area of the library; the area is stocked with ‘easy to read’ books, DVDs, special audio books (daisy books). The material is organized specifically to appeal to young, reluctant readers; books are shelved with their covers facing out. Books are categorized into fiction and non-fiction and put into designated subject areas by genre and topic area respectively. <br />In some libraries the scheme evolved into Language Point: A initiative established in the same fashion as Squares, but tailored to adult language needs. Targeted at semiliterate adults, focusing on (Dutch) language learning and acquisition.<br />Promoting the scheme to its intended user base<br />Children: The scheme was promoted in schools; children visited the library on school trips and were informed about the collection and what it had to offer<br />Adults: Adult education centres were targeted initially; adult learners brought into the library, introduced to the collection. Offered 2-3 months free subscription to the library<br /> Bon, I. (2011) “Easy to Read Squares in Dutch Public Libraries” Focus on International Library and Information Work 42(1) <br />
    17. 17. Dutch Prison library initiatives<br />Dutch prisons are filled with a broad multilingual population; prison libraries must provide the appropriate level of service and reading materials<br />As part of it’s collection management policies, prison libraries must try to include a representation of language material found among to the inmates language demographics<br />Services: Inter-library loan<br />A thriving inter-library loan system exists in the Dutch Prison library service; the library can cater to it’s users interests more effectively: prisoners have the opportunity to access a much wider range of material than is available in their own library. Inter-library loan services between prison libraries and public libraries, including the National Library are common<br />Libraries as language support centres<br />A Working Group for Library Services to Multicultural Groups in Prison (1991) established this initiative; libraries to provide a service as language support centres. <br />Specific libraries were designated support-centres, or, ‘language information points’ for specific languages; additional funds were provided to libraries for the acquisition of these specialized language materials. E.g. P.I. Harlaam is a support centre for the English and Hebrew languages<br />Reijnders, K. (1996) Library Service for Multicultural Groups in Dutch Prisons. Journal of Correctional Education. 47(3) <br />
    18. 18. Dutch Prison library initiatives contd.<br />Prison libraries and Automated library service<br />Working Group on Automated Services to Prison libraries est. in the early nineties: wanted to automate library services, with the aim of standardizing and making compatible library systems, databases and catalogues across the Dutch Prison library service.<br />A positive move for library users?<br />According to Kaiser (1995) it resulted in library service to prisoners being impacted in a generally negative manner, especially in prisons that were serviced by a wholly ‘virtual’ library.<br /> Library users had a very limited number of library materials to choose from<br /> Generally no reference material or support from a librarian was provided<br />With the lack of a constant library presence in these prisons, the literacy initiatives generally ran by prison libraries were not implemented<br />Automated systems were biased towards the literary prison population who spoke Dutch<br />Kaiser, K.E. (1995) New Technologies - New Possibilities? A Virtual Library in a Prison Environment in the Netherlands; a Discussion. 61st IFLA General Conference. Available at:<br />
    19. 19. Some additional Library educational initiatives for minorities<br />Computer Centre of Cultural Roots<br />This initiative was established by the public library system in Utrecht; it was ran in collaboration with primary schools across the city<br />Focused on minority groups in the community; the projected aimed to educate and inform library users of the history and heritage of immigrant communities within the community<br />Computer training was also provided <br />Learning better Dutch at the library<br />This initiative was also ran by the public library system in Utrecht, in conjunction with educational facilities focused on providing assistance to immigrants in the process of naturalization<br />Self-directed language learning, supplemented by books and reference material provided by the library; Dutch language conversational classes were also held in libraries, specifically targeted at women<br />Libraries also provided immigrants with valuable information about topics pertinent to their new life in the Netherlands e.g. healthcare, education<br />Larsen, J.I., Jacobs, D.L., van Vlimmeren, T. (2003.) Challenging Ideas: Cultural Diversity: How public libraries can serve the community. (paper presented at ALIA Conference December 2003).<br />^ Ṧpačková,L., Ṧtefková,J. (eds.) (2006) Libraries as gateways to the Integration of Immigrants in the EU. Multicultural Centre: Prague. Available at:<br />
    20. 20. Libraries and Privacy in the Netherlands<br />Libraries collect information about their patrons but they have an obligation to protect their users anonymity<br />This brings up many questions: Does the library’s obligation to protect their users anonymity hinder them in providing access to information? Can user anonymity really be safeguarded in libraries, particularly with the use of technology, e.g. RFID, security cameras etc.?<br />Dutch libraries follow guidelines outlined in the Charter for the Public Library (1990), which is based on the IFLA/UNESCO Public library manifesto.<br />At this time (2008) 75% of Dutch libraries did not have a written privacy policy; this is in relation to both loan policies and policies to do with the library website. 80% of libraries had the possibility of storing user loan history on their library system: 61% felt it could be used to improve library services , however 54% of libraries stated that they do not use loan history data, saying it is for users only. <br />Clearly, libraries in the Netherlands need to do more to inform users of their privacy policies. The implementation a standardized policy relating to how user information is kept, stored and used is needed.<br />Schepman, T., Koren, M., Horvat, A., Kurtovic, D & Grgic, I. H. (2008) Anonymity of library users in The Netherlands and Croatia. New Library World 109 (9/10) DOI: 10.1108/03074800810910441 <br />
    21. 21. Public Library Usability--Amsterdam <br />Amsterdam Public Library offers several services including a mobile book service and its Read Aloud program, which enables users to listen to the library’s web pages <br />Read Aloud lets users download a free program onto their computers. After doing so, a user can have web pages read aloud. Designed for seeing-impaired, the program is has simple instructions and works efficiently. <br />The library home page allows users to easily make text larger by clicking on “Tekstgroote”<br />The site also has a link to its homepage in English. However, the English pages have slightly less information <br />The Dutch website is easy to navigate and offers information on its special services, collections, etc. <br />Amsterdam Read Aloud,<br />Amsterdam Homepage,<br />
    22. 22. Usability--Rotterdam<br />Public library’s homepage is laid out well and like Amsterdam’s library site, has links to special services, and the website in English<br />A “Contact Us” link is easy to find if users need help or have questions for the library<br />The site mentions that it offers programs intended for education and welfare although it does not give specifics <br />The library offers Dutch language classes for free as well as easy to use internet stations <br />Rotterdam does have a library-on-wheels service for those who cannot come to the library<br /><br />
    23. 23. Research Challenges <br />General lack of information on specific library initiatives geared towards various minority groups (ethnic minorities, deaf, blind, handicapped, etc.)<br />Few published articles on services to minority groups in the Netherlands and few case studies on specific groups, their needs and library initiatives to services these needs <br />Little mention of direct minority services on library websites<br />Much available information on the topic is outdated (early 1990’s)<br />The following slides provide details on the state of the library field and a case study of one library’s success in providing access to a multicultural population<br />
    24. 24. International Perspectives: Academia<br />Research commonly studies and discusses the societal benefits of improved library services to minorities:<br />Can serve as a point of integration, allowing minorities to develop social capital and increased participation in majority society.<br />Enable minorities to access information that would otherwise be inaccessible.<br />Allow minority groups to participate in their own cultural heritage <br />Access to new languages and cultures—for both minorities and majority.<br />Limitations of existing research:<br />Limited discussion of international issues and perspectives—English-language research primarily focused on American/Canadian libraries.<br />Limited study of difficulties and obstacles to improved minority services—typical articles study benefits, offer guidelines, or present case studies.<br />
    25. 25. A Study In Success:The New Americans Program at Queens Library<br />Public library system in Queens, NY<br />One of the most diverse boroughs of one of the most diverse cities in the U.S.<br />Commonly cited by both academic researchers and library organizations as example of best practices:<br />Programming celebrating and welcoming minority cultures.<br />Print and online resources in 47 languages, rotating among branch libraries as needed.<br />Online service supporting access to non-English internet resources<br />Key elements for success:<br />Regular analysis of communities served by branches<br />Active outreach programs to introduce immigrants to library resources.<br />Close connection with community education and citizenship programs.<br />
    26. 26. Suggestions<br />More case studies on specific minority groups and how their needs are (or are not) met through library services <br />Libraries should list their specific services on their websites (i.e. classes, language services, etc.) <br />Areas that have specific minorities might consider offering language classes, and materials in those minorities’ languages. This may already exist, but there is little information on the subject<br />Libraries can follow the successful examples of Queens Library and Libraries for All project to improve their services to minorities<br />Libraries should carry out community research to understand their demographics and use such to provide necessary resources <br />
    27. 27. Bibliography<br />Amsterdam library facts and figures<br />Amsterdam Public Library,<br />Amsterdam library Read Aloud<br />Bon, I. (2011) “Easy to Read Squares in Dutch Public Libraries” Focus on International Library and Information Work 42(1) Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.  Retrieved from European Agency for Fundamental Rights website:;jsessionid=HL2RTQnSVVt8knntJssL0286vN3TvqhhXvJ3y8nCzjd5yFs2G6KJ!1483034357<br />CBS Central Bureau de Statistiek (Statistics Netherlands) <br />CIA The World Factbook – The Netherlands<br />European Union.  (2009) Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-13.  Summaries of EU Legislation.  Retrieved from<br />Fisher, K. E., Durrance, J. C. and Hinton, M. B. (2004). Information grounds and the use of need-based services by immigrants in Queens, New York: A context-based, outcome evaluation approach. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55 (8): 754–766. <br />Focus-Migration: What Is The Dutch Integration Model, And Has It Failed? Retrieved August 17, 2011, from<br />International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.  (n.d.).  Library Services to Multicultural Populations Section.  Retrieved from<br />International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.  (n.d.).  Library Services to People with Special Needs Section.  Retrieved from<br />
    28. 28. Bibliography Continued<br />International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.  (2009).  Multicultural Library Manifesto.  Retrieved from<br />Joanne van Selm. (2005, October). The Netherlands: Death of a Filmmaker Shakes a Nation. Migration Information Source. Retrieved August 19, 2011, from<br />Larsen, J.I., Jacobs, D.L., Vlimmeren, T. v.  (2003)  Cultural Diversity: How Public Libraries Can Serve the Diversity in the Community.  Paper presented at ALIA 2004: Challenging Ideas.  Libraries for All - ESME Project. (n.d.) - New Models for Intercultural Library Services.  Retrieved from<br />Kaiser, K.E. (1995) New Technologies - New Possibilities? A Virtual Library in a Prison Environment in the Netherlands; a Discussion. 61st IFLA General Conference. Available at:<br />Larsen, J.I., Jacobs, D.L., van Vlimmeren, T. (2003.) Challenging Ideas: Cultural Diversity: How public libraries can serve the community. (paper presented at ALIA Conference December 2003).<br />The Netherlands: How well will the extreme right do? | European Journal. (2010). Retrieved from<br />Rotterdam Public Library<br />Reijnders, K. (1996) Library Service for Multicultural Groups in Dutch Prisons. Journal of Correctional Education. 47(3) <br />Schepman, T., Koren, M., Horvat, A., Kurtovic, D & Grgic, I. H. (2008) Anonymity of library users in The Netherlands and Croatia. New Library World 109 (9/10) DOI: 10.1108/03074800810910441 <br /> <br />Ṧpačková,L., Ṧtefková,J. (eds.) (2006) Libraries as gateways to the Integration of Immigrants in the EU. Multicultural Centre: Prague. Available at:<br />Varheim, A.  (2011). Gracious space: Library programming strategies towards immigrants as tools in the creation of social capital. Library & Information Science Research, 33 (1):  12-18.  DOI: 10.1016/j.lisr.2010.04.005.<br />
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