Heritage talks

Sparking young people’s interest in cultural heritage.

The challenge 

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 its library is the leading conservation library of its kind. 

Children exposed to a variety of texts and stories from different cultures and perspectives are more likely to be empathetic and open-minded, leading to better social relations and community cohesion.

The initiative

The ICCROM library has come together with the local school, Istituto Comprensivo 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. 

The challenge team started by forming working groups to plan different activities. They invited authors to a series of lectures. Young library visitors were invited to play an active part in collection development and in heritage practice more generally. The children have been enthusiastic during the visits and their creative and fresh contributions contribute to an exercise of collective learning during the ‘Heritage talks’.

What’s next?

Now that the pilot phase has finished, the team believes it is crucial to ensure that the collaboration between the school and ICCROM continues. New funds will be needed to ensure a steadily growing collection of multilingual resources, as well as cooperation with partners in ICCROM Member States.

The challenge team said: “We believe that other academic libraries and research organisations should open to a young audience, including them in thinking on themes that are vital for building a better future.”

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