BOOKS are being used to help a Peterborough community strengthen its links with its cultural past thanks to a foreign ministry.
The Czech Republic’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given a grant to buy Czech books and videos for use in Peterborough’s Central Library, in Broadway.
The idea for a Czech and Slovak library in the city has come from the Community Partnership Group (Compas), which aims to promote community cohesion.
It was given the go-ahead by Peterborough’s leisure services trust, Vivacity, to use shelving space in the Central Library.
Compas then began approaching libraries in the Czech Republic and was also given a grant of 10,000 Czech Koruna, which is about £360.
Petr Torak, Compas project co-ordinator said: “There were concerns raised by former Czech Republic people now living in Peterborough that they were losing the memories of their cultural traditions and stories. There was nowhere in the city or nearby where we could get books so we got the idea of a library for ourselves.
“We also contacted many people in the Czech and Slovak community in Peterborough and we have received donations from them while some books have been sent from libraries in the Czech Republic.
“It shows how migrants are self-sufficient in maintaining their cultural knowledge and extending knowledge to their children.”
The new section of the library was officially opened by Petr on Saturday with refreshments for visitors and members of the Czech and Slovak community invited to the celebration.
There are 218 books and more than 130 DVDs and the collection includes novels, children’s books, history books, cultural studies and more.
And the films range from 1950s Czech classic to modern translations of Hollywood titles.
The majority of the books came from Mestka Knihovna Roztoky, the city library in Roztoky near the Czech capital Prague. Others were also donated by Peterborough residents Hana Pownall, Radek Hoza, Josef Kopecny and Lucie Torakova.
The collection is in the community section of the Central Library.