You are the library – a creative hub for young refugees

Varna, Bulgaria

Challenge team: Pencho Slaveykov Regional Library and Bookfan.tasy

Population of Varna: 335,177

Summary: This challenge team is helping young Ukrainian refugees in Varna in Bulgaria to take the library with them, wherever they are.

The idea for the Creative Art Hub was born at the beginning of 2022, when refugees began to flee over the border from Ukraine to Bulgaria. Today, Varna on the Black Sea Coast is home to many Ukrainian refugees – mainly women and children – who feel vulnerable, isolated and abandoned. 

Pencho Slaveykov Regional Library in Varna wanted to reimagine how to be a supportive and accessible centre for refugees – particularly for children and young people – by developing activities for art and culture.

Library colleagues are working together with Bookfan.tasy to set up a modern, multifunctional interactive hub where young people can present and share their artworks without any questions or conditions. Their initial idea was to create a physical space but now they have a different idea.

They said: “Now we want more – we want to create an idea for a library that is always with you, because the library is where community [members] find support and come together as a better society. The Library is where you are. You are the Library.”

As well as drawing on usual channels like social media, the Internet and printed posters, the  challenge team wants to build a network of followers by talking to young people from Ukraine and their parents – and asking them what they need and how to help them.  

“Young people are shaping the European future,” they said. “Their needs, desires and ideas are important. Their cultural and social integration is essential. For us, [it] is important to collect, shape and give voice to their visions. The good news is that – no matter where – young people have almost the same needs. And if we find the right key, it will be a solution for every European library.” 

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