21 February is International Mother Language Day

International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of UNESCO in November 1999. It has been celebrated since 2000 to promote all the languages of the world. In NZ, Mother Language Day is an opportunity to promote linguistic diversity and multilingualism and celebrate the hundreds of community languages spoken here.

Did you know that Wellington City Libraries has books in over 40 community languages? Most of the adult books are located at Central Library on the first floor but we also have Chinese language collections in Newtown, Karori and Johnsonville libraries, and Ruth Gotlieb library (Kilbirnie) has an extensive Arabic language collection including biographies, cooking and health books.

We also have a large collection of bilingual picture books including board books. We have Dear Zoo in English and Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Persian, Punjabi, Russian and Somali! If you are not sure where to find these books or how to search our catalogue for them, please ask, we are here to help.

(We also have library information available in many languages – visit our Migrant Communities Library Guide and have a look!)

Bilingual picture books at Newtown library

We are fortunate in Aotearoa to be exposed to so many community languages and be living in a country which has 3 official languages! Te reo Maori, sign language and English.