There are various reasons to why a person chooses to move to Sweden. Sadly, one of these reasons is the involuntary displacement due to war and persecution in one’s own country. 2015 was the year that to many will be remembered as the year of the refugee crisis in Europe. As a result of continued strained humanitarian situation and civil war, the number of people fleeing their home increased from being 280,000 in 2014 to more than one million in 2015.
The refugee flow to Sweden has had complex consequences to the community setting. One of these consequences has been the pressure on local resources. In order to handle the crisis situation and offer individuals a humanitarian welcoming to their new setting, recourses, laws and other societal structures had to be adjusted or looked over.
One societal institution that has great power in helping refugees and give them tools for a good start in Sweden is the public library. One of the library’s goals is to be a natural meeting spot (the city’s “living room”) where people go for experiences, information and knowledge. It also strives for being a contributing factor in the integration process of society. The library’s services are to be available for everybody and factors such as age, disability, language, economy etc. are not allowed to be obstacles.
In my paper, I looked at the city of Falun, a medium-sized city in Sweden, and its head library. Through my observations, I wanted to determine what the library’s role was in receiving new citizens (refugees), if they had modified any of their creative work, space and processes after the refugee crisis of 2015 and ultimately offer advice on new ways in which they could use their resources in reaching this target group and their stated missions.