Reading for a better world

Rome, Italy

Challenge team:International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property Library and Istituto Comprensorio Regina Margherita

Population of Rome: 2.8 million

Summary: A school in Rome is working with an international preservation library to spark young people’s interest in cultural heritage.

The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in Rome (ICCROM) is dedicated to promoting the preservation of all cultural heritage – and the centre’s library is the leading conservation library of its kind. 

The library has come together with the local school, Istituto Comprensorio Regina Margherita – which is home to children from many different backgrounds and cultures – to form the Reading for a better world challenge group. Together, the school and library want to explore how they can make the library more welcoming by opening up access to knowledge for children from diverse backgrounds – sparking their interest in cultural heritage.

First, the challenge team formed working groups both at ICCROM and at the school to start planning different activities. They invited authors to a series of lectures that will be rolled out in 2023. From January 2023, young visitors to the library will be invited to play an active part in collection development and in heritage practice more generally.

The team has also organised a tutorial on how to plan and create a welcoming space for young people with limited resources. Modular furniture is in the pipeline too and prototypes will be shared with other academic libraries, to help inspire similar projects. 

The challenge team said: “We expect this to be the beginning of a long-lasting partnership and hope to export this concept of knowledge sharing and actively involving the young so it can be implemented in other academic libraries across Europe.”

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