It started as s simple idea amongst a group of mothers with children at the Mont Kiara International School in Malaysia.
“We are 13 Danish families with 20 children at Mont Kiara International School and we regularly meet to discuss problems and issues to do with the kids and the school”, explains Lisbeth Vinther Jespersen, one of the initiators of the library. “One day we discussed the subject of maintaining the Danish language capabilities of our kids at an acceptable level while overseas. Some families had been travelling to many places and had not been in the Danish school system for a long time while others had only been away a year or two, but we immediately realised the need for both Danish school books and children’s books — and that’s where it all started.”
In the beginning it was only intended to be a children’s library but fairly early on they realized that there was also a need amongst adults to read books in their Danish mother tongue.
“Regularly a great number of Danish families arrive and a lot leave KL at the same time. However, often they don’t want to travel to their next destination, or back home, with lots of books”, says Gitte Lindby, the other co-initiator of the Danish library. “We’re saving them throwing out books, and at the same time, doing others a favour by making all kinds of Danish books available at the library. For instance, we know a Danish woman who has been travelling for many years with her American husband and she realised that she was loosing contact with the Danish language. She now borrows Danish books here at the library — and that has confirmed us in our idea to expand the library to also incorporate books for grown-ups”, Gitte establishes with an energetic smile.
Both Lisbeth and Gitte are very active women, and both love to read, so taking the initiative for the library came very naturally to them. They also wanted to fly the Danish flag at a school that already had a Swedish, Korean and Spanish section… and now also a Danish. Lisbeth has a 16 year old son, Thomas, at MKIS while Gitte has Oliver, 9 years old and Cecilie, 13 years old at the school and both have been living in KL for 1_ years with their families. There is no doubt that they enjoy their temporary home in Malaysia and that they are also prepared to give something back, establishing a library can be no easy feat.
“We are very grateful to the Danish Embassy and others who have already made donation of books and films and we already have a very good collection which we are hoping to improve. We are still looking for contributions from anybody with Danish books and DVDs which they can pass to us. We are in particular looking for newer books/DVDs, books by Danish authors, classics and fairytales as either books or DVDs, children’s books/DVDs etc.”, say Lisbeth and Gitte who hope to hear from a lot more Danes with donations.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call Lisbeth on tel. 012 606 8175 or Gitte on tel. 012 654 5578 to find out how to make a donation to the library. The two warm and friendly ladies are also happy to join you at your first visit to the library, their own time permitting of course.
While looking for more material for the library, both want to emphasise at the same time that what they already have at the library is very attractive. They encourage all Danes to check out the library which is open Monday to Friday from 7.30 to 16.45 hrs. “Just tell the guard that you are visiting the library and you will be escorted there so you won’t get lost”, this is their advice.
What about popping by to borrow “Kronprinsessen” by Hanne-Vibeke Holst, “Jadekatten” by Suzanne Brøgger or “Forestilling om det tyvende århundrede” by Peter Høeg? Or what about picking up some easy to read Danish books for your kids, or maybe some fairytales or culture to help them keep in touch with their Danish roots?
Borrowing books is purely on a trust basis. Write your name and the title of the book/film on the list and then bring back the book when you are finished with it. It can’t get any simpler than that.
|Danish Library at MKIS
Who can borrow books/DVDs:
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Book and DVD donations, please contact: