Asylplus: A place to learn for everyone

The library in Bad Tölz makes Chromebooks available to help refugees learn German. The laptops can also be loaned.

September 2017. In schools and learning centers in Bad Tölz, there are some classes for refugees in which they learn the German language. However, many refugees want to continue to learn outside teaching hours - to deepen what they have learned or to get faster. This requires a place that is best open to all who want to learn there. What kind of place is better suited for this than a library? In the municipal library in Bad Tölz, refugees who live in the small town or in the surrounding get a trial membership for free. They can borrow books and DVDs - and laptops, so-called Chromebooks, which the library of Bad Tölz provides in co-operation with Asylplus, an association also located in Bad Tölz. 

Demand is great. "We started with five laptops," says Melanie Sappl, the director of the library, "Because they were used so strongly from the start, we asked Asylplus if we could get more." And they got 10 laptops more. Five Chromebooks members of the library can loan to use them at home. "They are almost always on the road," reports Melanie Sappl. The other ten Chromebooks are available to users during the opening hours. 

74 refugees use the library's offers intensively. Approximately 15 refugees come every day to study or to borrow something. That so many refugees come is also due to the fact that the library is surrounded by schools, including a vocational school and an adult learning center. The teachers of the occupational integration classes for refugees are encouraging their pupils to take part in guided tours through the library so that they can get to know the offers. 


Refugees can use the Chromebooks and the public WLAN also in the library to research online, to practice language exercises or to play educational online games. Every Wednesday and Thursday classes are held in a separate room at the upper floor. With their course leader and online offers, refugees learn German there. 

Melanie Sappl is enthusiastic about the Chromebooks: "Open it, press the start button and get started! Which other laptop is so easy to use? "She is grateful to the association Asylplus for the laptops because they expand the library's offer. The best thing about the cooperation is: "We have hardly any effort with the laptops. Asylplus takes care of all technical details. The library practically provides only the rooms." And it makes sure that the laptops work and the users carefully deal with the devices. So far they had no problems. Melanie Sappl had therefore never considered lending the Chromebooks. "You just have to try something in practice," she says convincingly. "You have to have the courage that something will not work. If you do nothing, nothing works."


Post by Theresa Ritzer, NetHope - Project Reconnect