Baynatna Arabic LibraryFormed in 2016, the Baynatna Library is a library and salon that first opened in an emergency shelter for refugees in Berlin-Kreuzberg. It has been the only existing Arabic library in Berlin. Beginning with a few donated books, the Library has grown and expanded to contain 800 books and moved on to cooperate with the Berlin Public Libraries network. An architecture class from the Technical University Berlin designed and donated movable shelves and furniture that are folded out to create a comfortable space that is open to everyone.
The project uses the power of stories to convey cross-cultural experiences and to foster an inclusive and progressive environment. We spark discussions not only with the books on our shelves but also through weekly readings, music performances, and workshops. By using
literature as the medium through which cultures are shared, discussed, and understood, the Baynatna Library gives a new platform to integration – one that is accessible and enjoyable to all - just like the name is suggesting: Baynatna is Arabic for Between Us.
Student coordinator: Mohannad Kaikanni
[A journalist] asked me about my situation when I arrived in Germany. I told her that I’m in a refugee camp and it’s boring. She said to me, “If you want, I can send you some books, and you can read them.” And I told her, ok, but are there any Arabic books? And she said to me, “there is no Arabic library in Germany, but I can order them online.” So when she said there is no Arabic library in Germany, and specifically no Arabic library in Berlin, this when the idea came to my mind to create one.