Working with Pakistani and Bangladeshi Women in Leicester

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Leicester Libraries are running various initiatives to engage local Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in reading and to encourage them to use libraries.


Women's Time at Highfields Library

This is held every Tuesday from 1 to 3 pm.

The library itself is situated where a large proportion of the community is of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin, so Women's Times are an opportunity for these women to come in to read newspapers, magazines, borrow books and use the computers.

A large proportion of the books issued are 'romance' in the mother-tongues[Urdu, Bengali] or English. Urdu magazines for women[eg. Pakeezah] are also available at various libraries in the city, many are issued as well, and have proved to be very popular with women. Some have romance titles by popular authors as serials every month. These have a dedicated readership with women of all ages who read Urdu.

Sewing Sessions

This year, during Adult Learning Week, Sewing sessions were set up at certain library sites. The session at Highfields Library proved so popular that it continued for 4 months.

Most of the women who borrowed books after the sewing, were of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin.

Eid events and displays were held at various libraries, and many of them attracted women of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin.

Support with English

Leicester Libraries also offer Practise English Speaking groups and ESOL classes at various libraries in Leicester which attract many women from the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities.

The English speaking group is run by the senior community librarian and volunteers and the ESOL classes are run in partnership with the Workers Educational Association, which provides a tutor.

Collections to residential homes

Our Home Library Services supply deposit collections of Books, Sound Recordings and DVD's to Day Centres and Residential Homes where elderly women from the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities can access them.

Library staff profile the people in the homes and then supply materials including books/music/films/Talking Books in Urdu/Bengali, as requested by the elderly people from the communities. The collections would generally include a range of fiction (including Romances) and non-fiction (books on religion, cookery, health and beauty are always in demand).

Making the most of staff with relevant languages

Staff with the appropriate language skills are based at the libraries where there is a high proportion of these communities so they can promote reading to the women who often come in with their children during Homework Help, or Toddler Times[sessions held every week].

For more information

Contact Nirmala at

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