MULOSIGE — short for Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies, which is rather a mouthful — has launched a project in concert with the Council of Islington and various community organization in an attempt “to make London libraries more multilingual”:
The project, organizers write, not only has the aim of celebrating multilingualism, but also of increasing “Londoners’ knowledge of and accessibility to literatures from the Global South, and in languages other than English.” One of the first steps was building a multi-genre and multi-age Arabic collection at N4 library in Finsbury Park.
While we tend to think of research as the primary activity influencing society, the engagement with the public is a remarkably valuable source of insight for researchers. This project is the perfect example of the bidirectionality that governs the relationship between scholars and non-scholars. The selection of the books that make up the Arabic collection at N4, in fact, was made following the feedback of the Arabic-speaking people in the borough, who filled in a survey about their literary taste and interests. Thus this is a project not only for the communities, but by them! The project was also made possible thanks to the inestimable work of the personnel at Dar al-Hikma, an Arabic bookshop and publishing house located in central London.
They are looking to hear more suggestions from the community. Those who would like to fill in an Arabic survey on their literary interests can do so online. If you would like to propose any activities, partnership or any other suggestions, you can contact organizers at: firstname.lastname@example.org. More about the libraries project is also available in Arabic.