The Multilingual Library

The Multilingual Library is a service provided by the National Library of Norway. Our role is to support other libraries in their provision of library services to a multilingual and multicultural population.

The most important way we do this is by acquiring collections in many languages, and by cataloguing and making those collections available for inter library lending.

Our collections are available through normal inter library loans, but a library can also request the loan of book boxes. A book box contains books and other media in a given language, the selection tailored to the library’s specific request. They are lended out for a longer period of time than ordinary inter library loans, so the library can use them as their own for up to six months.

We currently hold actively maintained collections in approximately 40 languages, a number that increases to around 70 if smaller and more static collections are included. 

We also aim to support libraries in other ways, specifically by:

  • Holding a yearly conference highlighting various aspects of library services for a multicultural and multilingual population
  • Holding talks about our areas of expertise
  • Curating and making available for loan a small handful of “travelling exhibitions” (collections of books and objects suitable for exhibition in a library setting)
  • Cooperating with publishers to translate bilingual picture books into Norwegian
  • Helping other libraries with the acquisition of books in immigrant languages
  • Providing advice on how to run language cafés

Our target audience are library professionals in public libraries and other libraries in Norway. As a library user you can access our collections with the help of your local library.

The Multilingual Library can only be visited online, as the staff and collections that make up the library are to be found in several locations in the National Library of Norway.

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