This is a guest post from Tatia (Tash) Gruenbaum.
I met my Dutch husband one fine evening in a swanky bar in South Kensington, London. After spending twelve years in London (& St Albans) we felt it was time for a little change. By now, we had two little girls and thought it would be a good time for them to experience life in the Netherlands. So two years ago we moved from St Albans to Breda.
To my delight, I found a vibrant English-speaking Expat Community in Breda and I soon became a member of the International Women’s Club Breda. As mums do, we discuss pretty much everything and the difficulty of gaining frequent access to English children’s books and rhyme-time sessions is something that regularly popped up in conversations.
So at the end of 2013, I launched the non-profit project called The Little English Library: a free library service for English children’s books for all children (0-12 years) in and around Breda who speak English or who are learning English.
My children attend the local Montessori School in Breda and I was very fortunate that the directors Mrs Monique van Doorn and Mrs Carla van Eijk were very interested in the project. They immediately offered a dedicated zone within the school’s library space. Their library space was being redesigned by the Breda based company TIESENCOO (voluntary project) so they managed to change the plans a little to fit us in. Completion is now planned for the end of February which is also our opening date for The Little English Library.
Once open, The Little English Library will be accessible to every parent & baby, toddler and school child aged 0-12 who would like to browse and borrow English books. In addition to books, the library will be offering audio books and free book related activities such as rhyme-time and storytelling sessions. We (Volunteers & I) hope to organise monthly competitions which will be sent out to all Primary Schools in Breda. All activities will be held in English and will be run by English Speaking Expats.
The Little English Library is being actively supported by organisations such as the IWC Breda and Breda Little Monkeys. So far over 500 books have been donated. With the current focus on English at Primary School level, I am delighted to see how this project is quickly gaining in interest – it even made it into the local newspaper BNDeSTEM. Looking at ways to swiftly increase the library’s book collection before its opening in February, I launched an international campaign called: My Book has Wings: Send One Book from Your Bookshelf to the Netherlands.
I believe that The Little English Library will be the first of its kind in the Netherlands and it is wonderful to see how this project is being met with enthusiasm and support by both the international and local Breda community. And together, I think we will be on track to create an English children’s library that will amaze our children and get this young generation excited about books, reading and English. Thank you.
For more information about our campaign and our progress, please check
Fb (public page): https://www.facebook.com/thelittleenglishlibrary
And to contact me, please email: email@example.com
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