Newcomers Welcome! A panel discussion on library services for refugees at Goethe-Institut

The following event is being shared on behalf of our colleagues at Goethe-Institut.

Newcomers Welcome!
October 19, 6:30pm
Goethe-Institut New York
30 Irving Place

The growing number of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Germany present society with new challenges. Public and academic libraries alike have adjusted to the situation, reacted to the new population group, and developed services for all age groups of this population. Under the banners of “Welcoming Culture” and “Integration”, many libraries are venturing into unchartered territory.

In this context Inka Jessen, director of the Stuttgart City Library’s 17 branch libraries and mobile library, is undertaking a residency in the United States to exchange information on library services for refugees and immigrants with local experts in the field.  This annual Librarian in Residence program is hosted by the Goethe-Institut New York, Bibliothek & Information International (BII) and will conclude with this panel.
Jessen will exchange with fellow panelists Fred Gitner, of the New Americans Program at Queens Library and Commissioner Nisha Agarwal of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs on the challenges of providing services to refugees and immigrants, the place of libraries in the constellation of civil services for newcomers, and differing practices in the US and Germany.  

About the speakers

Inka Jessen, began working as the director of the Wertheim City Library in 2006 after having completed a degree in Library and Media Management at Stuttgart’s Media University. In mid-2007, she switched to the DiViBib GmbH, where she was responsible for supporting early eLibraries as a project manager before taking on office duties. She directed the Central Library of the Mannheim City Library from December 2011 through June 2013. Since July 2013, she is director of the Stuttgart City Library’s 17 branch libraries and mobile library, with a special focus on coordinating the intercultural division.
Fred J. Gitner has been Assistant Director of New Initiatives and Partnership Liaison for the New Americans Program at Queens Library since 2015, after having served since 1996 in various administrative positions in New Americans Program and Special Services. He is a co-editor of “Bridging Cultures:  Ethnic Services in the Libraries of New York State” (2001) and has also spoken on this topic at the 2008 IFLA conference, the 2010 National Immigrant Immigration Conference and conferences in Spain and France on immigrants and libraries, as well as at ALA, PLA and NYLA. 
Nisha Agarwal is an accomplished public interest lawyer and a leading voice in immigration reform at the local and national level.  Commissioner Agarwal led the development and implementation of IDNYC, the country's largest municipal identification program, and was also an instrumental force in the creation of ActionNYC. which provides free, safe immigration legal help to every immigrant New Yorker in their community and in their language.  She was previously Deputy Director of the Center for Popular Democracy, the groundbreaking nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to advancing pro-immigrant, pro-equality, and pro-justice policies at the grassroots and national levels, which she co-founded in 2012. Prior to CPD, she served as Director of the Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.


This event is free of charge and reservation is not required. See this event here.