A Portuguese children’s library at the heart of Little Portugal

A year ago the Montepio Bank – the leading building society in Portugal – donated a small collection of Portuguese- language books to Tate South Lambeth Library.

Now Montepio has enormously stepped up its support for the library. Through the good offices of Guilherme Falcão de Rosa, representative manager in London, who approached the Friends of TSL as partner:

  • The bank’s branches throughout Portugal are collecting donations from their employees of children’s books which Montepio will ship to TSL to build up the existing Portuguese-language stock. This will be located in a separate and distinct corner of the library that will be immediately evident to any visitor.

  • Each Saturday afternoon, in this Portuguese corner, local Portuguese volunteers, recruited by Apoio á Comunidade Portuguesa UK (ACPUK) in partnership with Wyvil Primary School and St Stephen’s Children’s Centre, will provide free classes in basic English for Portuguese adults, aiding their integration into British society. The programme starts on November 10th.
  • The library’s current programme of monthly readings to children from Portuguese-speaking families will be supplemented by sessions by Portuguese teachers, which will deepen these children’s understanding and appreciation of their language and culture.
Guilherme Falcao Rosa

This is the latest – and also the most wide-ranging – contribution by the Portuguese -speaking community to the improvement of the library located at the core of Little Portugal. Their support was critical twelve years ago when local people got together to save the library from closure. With TSL – like other smaller “neighbourhood” libraries – now being required to adopt a “cooperative” character, bringing in other partners to sustain it (even if it’s still unclear what exactly this means), Montepio’s initiative is very timely – and very welcome..

Let’s celebrate

The whole project will get a formal send-off on Saturday December 1st, at 2pm. Come along and see what’s happening, thank Guilherme and his associates, and enjoy food and drinks donated by the Estrela cafe – a good friend of Friends of TSL from our very first day.

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