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05 November 2012
Libraries across the Royal Borough will be stocking 70 new Arabic-English titles as a result of a partnership between the Council, Nour Festival and Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing. The new books will include fiction, non-fiction, biography, arts and children's books. Although Arabic is the second most spoken language in Kensington and Chelsea, librarians felt that the stock was limited and included few up-to-date editions. Feedback from Nour 2011 highlighted that residents who spoke Arabic felt there were not enough opportunities for their children to choose high-quality children's literature, in dual language Arabic-English editions at their local library. Acting on this feedback, the Nour Festival appointed two literature experts, Sophia Blackwell, marketing manager at Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, and the publishing consultant Nahla El Geyoushi, to source new, up-to-date stock. Nahla El Geyoushi's involvement was particularly important for Kensington and Chelsea as she is the events co-ordinator at Al-Manaar: The Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in North Kensington, and has expert knowledge of what local people were looking to read. The new stock will be launched by Nour Festival writer-in-residence Selma Dabbagh at North Kensington Library on 15 November at 6.30pm. Sophia Blackwell and Nahla El Geyoushi will talk about the books they selected and why. Councillor Elizabeth Campbell, Cabinet Member for Libraries, said: "We pride ourselves on having excellent libraries at the heart of our community and always want to make sure that our book stock is relevant and up-to-date. I'm very pleased that a new range of Arabic-English titles is now available."
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