Reading can be a portal to another world, Source: Depositphotos

Amsterdam residents up to 27 years old will have free access to libraries

Amsterdam residents up to 27 years old will have free access to libraries

This initiative is not just about making books more accessible – it has larger ambitions in its sights

The Amsterdam Municipality announced that next year it will raise the age limit granting free access to the city’s public libraries – from 18 to 27. Additionally, all teachers in the city will also use the library services free of charge.

Libraries in major European cities have been busy reinventing themselves as more than just places where you go to borrow a book. These days, many of them serve as veritable cultural and educational centres that seek to bridge various societal gaps.

Amsterdam libraries as places for personal development

First, the City of Amsterdam aims to enlist the public libraries as partners in the initiative to improve general reading and language skills among young residents. One of the stated projects, together with the libraries, will be the creation of a book collection that suits the population and the diverse interests of children.

What’s more, the library administration will get involved in the schools to lead the “Love for Reading” initiative, which will aim to stimulate, encourage and show that there is pleasure in reading and enriching one’s own language skills.

The partnership between the City and the public libraries also aims to tackle digital inequality. Access to the digital world is not self-evident for everyone, and the digital divide is growing. About 20 percent of Amsterdam residents cannot manage digitally, and 14 percent of residents with a lower income do not have a computer, laptop or tablet at home. In the library, these groups of residents can receive accessible digital support and learn more about technology.

In a city that is growing and where space is scarce, the library offers a public meeting place with something for everyone. The libraries will therefore develop activities together with the neighbourhoods so that Amsterdam residents can feel like co-owners of their local library.



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