Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Calais migrant camp gets makeshift library – and it needs more books

A British teacher has set up a library in France’s growing refugee camp, and is asking for donations. We look at other libraries created in crisis situations

Migrants from Sudan make a table at the migrant camp “New Jungle” in Calais. The camp is becoming its own “mini-society”, with supermarkets, bars, a barber and a bike repair shop. Photograph: PuzzlePix/REX Shutterstock/PuzzlePix/REX Shutterstock
Volunteers have set up a makeshift library at the migrant camp in Calais which the French authorities estimate now shelters at least 3,000 refugees. The library is just one of the essential services being provided on a voluntary basis at the camp, known as the Jungle, as the refugee crisis in Europe escalates.

Opened by British teacher Mary Jones, who baptised it Jungle Books (or Livres de la jungle in French), the library is stocked with giveaways. Jones herself has been taking books and other items to the camp for years, but wanted to go beyond that, she told Publishing Perspectives. “I wanted to start something that offered real, practical help. Many people here are well-educated — they want to get on and they want books that will help them read and write English, apply for jobs, fill-in forms.” 

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