A library space for children promoting cross-cultural exchanges

A library space for children promoting cross-cultural exchanges Main Image

By Alliance Française de Brisbane

Grandparents, parents and children all love reading stories to each other and characters (including French characters such as Babar, Asterix, Tintin and the Little Prince) reach across generations. They allow us to spend time together, share stories, ideas and lessons in life – all while learning a language. Our project is to completely renovate part of our lobby and to expand our current collection of books at Alliance Française in West End to create a children’s library immersed in French language and francophone cultures. Established in 1907, the Alliance Française de Brisbane has always acted as a connector between the French and Australian communities. As a local not-for-profit organisation, it has always been a place where new ideas were nurtured, knowledge was imparted and language and culture were shared. The Alliance is already frequented by a vibrant local community of native French speakers (from France, New Caledonia, and the many francophone countries around the world) and French lovers. Many of our students are children, largely from the West End area. Beside French courses, they have access to a collection of children’s books in French as well as some workshops and holiday camps. By offering a brand-new library space truly dedicated to the children, we will be able to better serve the wider community, by offering bilingual story times, movie screenings, intercultural workshops, and so much more. This refurbished space will be more welcoming to all parents and grandparents as a happy and cosy place to bring their children and read them books and have them discover more about different cultures in a safe and friendly environment. To this end, we would need support to transform part of our current lobby to a dedicated children’s space by buying new furniture and more books. Success will be demonstrated through participation, book borrowings and satisfied parents and children.

We envision this place as a vibrant, colourful, energetic fun learning space in the centre of West End, where everyone, regardless of their proficiency in French, will feel welcome to discover more about the cultures of the various territories who share the French language: New Caledonia, Quebec, Morocco, France, Vietnam, Tahiti, Louisiana, Senegal and so many more. Regular events, designed for parents and children alike, will help raise cultural awareness and make our children world citizens, preparing them for tomorrow’s world. It has been proven that learning an additional language gives children enhanced problem solving skills, improved verbal and spatial abilities, better short- and long-term memory and much more. Culture also enhances our quality of life and increases overall well-being for both individuals and communities. Over the next decade, as Paris races towards 2024 and Brisbane prepares for the Olympics of 2032, as our region evolves and changes, our capacity to understand other languages and cultures will only grow in importance – and by understanding other languages and cultures we will live richer lives, better appreciate the diverse and wonderful world around us and in turn build a stronger and more inclusive community right here.

 

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