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Information’s Importance for Refugees: Information Technologies, Public Libraries, and the Current Refugee Crisis

Marc Kosciejew: lecturer and previous head of Department of Library, Information, and Archive Sciences at the University of Malta. Kosciejew received his PhD from Western University in London, Canada. He conducted original research in North Korea on its library system, becoming one of the first English speakers to publish and present on this specific topic. He was appointed by Malta’s minister for education and employment as chairperson of the Malta Libraries Council, a government-appointed council stipulated in the Malta Libraries Act of 2011 to provide strategic advice on libraries, learning, and literacy to senior cultural and political figures. He has also volunteered as an English teacher for refugees in Malta. Email: [email protected].

Refugees are being empowered by their access to and use of information, enabled by information communication services and technologies and public libraries. Drawing on the work of various LIS scholars and recent media coverage and reports, this article presents a detailed literature review on the intersections of refugees, human rights, information, and public libraries to help consolidate and condense the research on these interrelated subjects. It examines the critical roles played by information in refugees’ lives, including how information communication technologies, services, and public libraries help facilitate refugees’ human right to information and, by extension, assist them in adapting to and better understanding unfamiliar information landscapes, building information and personal resilience, forging social trust, and transitioning into new communities. It is hoped this article can contribute to continued collective attention and coordinated collaboration to help address and alleviate this current refugee crisis.