Like Home

Expanding the network of Belarusian-language bookshelves in Kraków’s libraries and organising reading clubs for children and adults living in exile to help preserve Belarusian culture.

The Local Challenge

Due to political repression in Belarus post-2020, many Belarusians emigrated to Poland. The Knizny Vyraj library is filling the need for access to Belarusian literature as Belarusian literature is persecuted in Belarusthey started an initiative to distribute Belarusian books in Kraków in spring 2022. The goal is to address the lack of Belarusian books in Poland, preserve Belarusian language and culture, and establish collections in Kraków libraries, as well as organising reading clubs for Belarusians living in exile. 


 The Initiative  

The Like Home initiative is expanding the network of Belarusian-language bookshelves in local libraries, aiming for a shelf in every district of Kraków. Interactive reading events for children are being held every six weeks, and a reading club for adults is being established to discuss new and classic Belarusian literature. Introducing readers diaries, interactive cards, maps and board games helps to improve communication between the library and readers. Up to 3,000 Belarusians in Kraków stand to gain access to books in their native language through the initiative, supporting language preservation, providing free book access, encouraging sustainable book use and building social connections. 


What’s Next?

Next steps include enhancing the prominence of the Belarusian diaspora in Kraków and fostering dialogue with local residents and library staff. The project is adopting global best practices to preserve Belarusian culture in emigration and to research how other European national groups manage similar challenges. The initiative aims to raise awareness about Belarusian culture and political repression, providing a safe space for Belarusians in Kraków to read, socialise and integrate into Polish culture. 


This is an ongoing Europe Challenge project that will be completed in autumn 2024. Stay tuned for more updates and contact if you have any questions or want to be connected with the team behind the project.

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