"Founding libraries is like building still public granaries, amassing reserves against the winter of the spirit that, from many clues, in spite of myself, I see come" said Marguerite Yourcenar and in the Murri district of Bologna there are no granai that can be meeting points between local citizenship and new foreign citizenship, meeting spaces for women and children with free courses for citizenship. That's why we decided to face up to "in the winter that we see come" and plant the seeds of this project right on the outskirts, where an important part of the population is excluded from the cultural and social services of the historic center. The aim is to make GrassBooks is a bridge between different cultures and diversity in general. Through a graphic novel or illustrated children's book, GrassBooks Library aims to engage citizens in a critical debate around resources and practices that can configure solutions and allow us to reclaim our future. Each of us can be an actor of change if we have the right tools: for this reason GrassBooks Library intends to offer with its 1000 volumes in different languages (to reach 3000 within a year) a place where young migrants, women, the elderly and children and families can cultivate their cognitive, expressive and relational skills. The words, knowledge, knowledge are necessary to decode the present and its development trends, to keep alive in human beings, on an individual and collective level, the ability to express imagination at the service of of a social planning capable of thinking of a less inhuman and unjust world. At the heart of this vision are the books: in Italian, translated and those still to be translated show different realities and many times completely Unknown. The collaborations that we have activated on the Bolognese territory, and in general on the Italian one, are with independent publishing houses and in direct partnership, without going through the large distributions. Collaborations international companies that we have opened are with publishing houses on the territories of North Macedonia, Croatia, Turkey, Syria and Belgium and this network is currently expanding. The main axes of our work are commitment, innovation and, above all, respect for all individuals, skills with which we engage in the management of diversity. These skills are critical to our library, which offers wide-ranging content, services and expertise and diverse across the community. Libraries and libraries have a long history of active engagement in respect for diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility work, which is vital to the overall success of a international ethical culture. The principles of diversity are infused into all aspects of our work: the collections that will be in different languages and forms, comics, illustrated books, essays, fiction and that we aim to grow up to 3000 volumes by the first year. The services, which will aim to create encounters and link the different experiences and lives that frequent and live the spaces of GrassBooks Library. The spaces, in fact, a safe accessible and welcoming space for everyone. And human value, so to create and maintain a positive and inclusive climate and culture within the library, everyone will be invited to participate in the training and activities professional development focused on diversity.
In recent years the gentrification of Bologna has created a concentration of cultural supply in the city center, at the same time the increase in rents due to a disproportionate increase in tourism "bites and escapes", has made the demand for housing in the suburbs has increased along with the demand for cultural activities. The suburbs have become areas characterized by a strong social and personal variety, where they can be found: long-term elderly residents, young families both Italian and foreign and students. Foreign residents are on average younger than Bolognese: their average age is 35 years while that of the population bolognese overall is 49.1.
The net migration of foreigners is negative, this has been influenced by the economic situation while the slight growth of non-Italian residents is due to foreign births in the city. Over one in 4 born is foreign and more than one born on 3 has at least one foreign parent. Almost 9,000 non-Italian people born in Italy live in the city, or 15% of the total number of foreigners. Foreigners residing in Bologna at 31 December 2018, compared to the previous year, stable at 60,400: they represent 15.4% of the population, are young (average age 34.3 years compared to 46.9 years for Bolognese), with a slight prevalence of women, and come mainly from European countries.
Today the platform of integration and culture has radically changed and the approach is different.
While we are witnessing the growing influence of digital platforms, the library as a physical place is still a focal point of the physical encounter between people of different ages and cultural backgrounds. In fact both the book and the graphic novel are still an effective transcultural and intergenerational communication channel.
Hence the need for places of sharing in the suburbs, returning to a paper and tangible tool in a sharing space.
The goal is to regenerate a neighborhood space with cultural sharing practices, build a livable place accessible to anyone who lives in the neighborhood by making themselves the backbone of space, removing cultural barriers, through multimedia and language courses for the elderly, children, migrants and anyone who wants to belong to an active community.