Community language collections
We have books for children and adults, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, and CDs in 13 different community languages.
- عَرَبيْ (Arabic) - Coburg, Fawkner and Glenroy
- 中文 (Chinese) - Brunswick, Coburg, and Glenroy
- Hrvatski (Croatian) - Coburg
- Français (French) - Coburg and Brunswick
- ελληνικά (Greek) - Brunswick, Coburg, and Glenroy
- हिंदी (Hindi) - Glenroy
- Italiano (Italian) - All Merri-bek libraries
- नेपाली (Nepali) - Glenroy
- Polski (Polish) - Glenroy
- සිංහල (Sinhala) - Glenroy
- Español (Spanish) - Coburg and Brunswick
- Türkçe (Turkish) - Coburg and Glenroy
- اردو (Urdu) - Fawkner and Glenroy
There are also books, dictionaries, kits, and online resources for learning English and other languages.
Bilingual books and DVDs
Merri-bek Libraries have a selection of children’s picture books, picture dictionaries, ESL learning materials, and world movie DVDs in additional community languages alongside English text or subtitles. You can search to see what is available on our Merri-bek Libraries catalogue.
Suggestions and requests
We welcome suggestions for new items in community languages that are suitable for the library collection. You can make a suggestion for a new item in a community language using the form on our How to borrow page.
Before you suggest an item, please check to see if we already have the item in the library catalogue.
Community language collections at other Victorian libraries
You can find information about community language items for all Victorian libraries on the Public Libraries Victoria website. If items in a community language are not held by Merri-bek Libraries you can request up to 10 items from another Victorian library for free.
Community language eResources
Access to all online library resources (also known as eResources) requires using your Merri-bek Libraries member details. You will need to log in using your library card number (e.g. 2000301xxxxxxx). If you have not updated your password, it will be your date of birth in 8 numbers (e.g. DDMMYYYY).
eBooks, eMagazines, and eAudiobooks
Digital materials in community languages are available through the Merri-bek Libraries Overdrive website. You can also read eBooks, eMagazines, and Audiobooks when you are offline by downloading the Libby app from the Google Play Store website or from the Apple App Store website.
Read and listen to children’s eBooks. Learn a language through storytelling on the LOTE4Kids website. With over 40 languages from all over the world, each book is provided with an English translation to help develop multilingual listening and reading skills. You can also enjoy LOTE4Kids through their app on the Google Play Store website or the Apple App Store website.
Newspapers and magazines
Access national and local newspapers and magazines from around the world in their original languages on the Press Reader website.
We offer access to an online preparation and practice resource for learning how to read, write and speak English. This preparation and practice resource is called Road to IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The resource is available at two levels:
- access the 'general' level of Road to IELTS on the Clarity English website
- access the 'academic' level of Road to IELTS on the Clarity English website
If you are looking to learn and prepare for realistic conversations and communication in a new language, we recommend using the tools on the Mango languages website. The tools on this site are available in over 70 world languages including Spanish, French, Greek, Italian, and English.
Conversation Cafe is a weekly social group for adults who speak English as a second language and anyone interested in intercultural conversations. At Conversation Cafe you can practise speaking and listening in English. Updated times, dates, and locations of Conversation Cafe sessions are available on our Learning English and other languages page.
Chatty Cafe brings the community together for friendly conversation, English practise and social connection. No need to book, just come along and make some new friends over a cuppa. Updated times, dates, and locations of Chatty Cafe sessions are available on our Library activities and events page.
Community language storytimes are suitable for preschool children and their families. Enjoy songs, stories, and craft activities with your child as they develop their language skills and love of reading.
You can view community language storytime session details on our Merri-bek Libraries Eventbrite page. You can also find more of our online storytime sessions on the Merri-bek Libraries YouTube channel.
Join Océane for fun stories, songs and activities for pre-kinder babies and children. The session is in French, all are welcome! No bookings required.
Starts at 10:30am:
- Tuesday 15 August
- Tuesday 19 September
- Tuesday 17 October
- Tuesday 21 November
- Tuesday 19 December
Join in the fun at Greek storytime. Enjoy stories,
songs and a craft activity with your child. Every
Friday at Glenroy Library during school terms.
Term 4 2023
Greek storytime will run weekly beginning
Friday October 6 and finish Friday December 15.
Italian storytime is held at Coburg Library monthly at 10.30 am on the following dates:
- Tuesday 1 August
- Tuesday 5 September
- Tuesday 3 October
- Tuesday 14 November
- Tuesday 5 December
Spanish storytime is held at Brunswick Library monthly at 10.30 am.
- Tuesday 22 August
- Tuesday 26 September
- Tuesday 24 October
- Tuesday 28 November
- No storytime in December
Turkish storytime is held at monthly at Glenroy Library at 10.30 am on the following dates:
- Thursday 3 August
- Thursday 7 September
- Thursday 5 October
- Thursday 2 November
- Thursday 7 December
Events celebrating the diversity of Merri-bek are regularly held at Merri-bek Libraries. These include cooking demonstrations, dance and musical performances, personal experiences, and celebrating significant dates. You can see what cultural events are coming up at Merri-bek Libraries on our Library activities and events page.
Translated resources for families include:
- Free access to children's online picture books in lots of languages on the International Children's Digital Library website. Languages available include Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, and Urdu.
- Translated flyers on benefits of reading and tips for each age group on the Let's Read website.
- Translated brochures and resources for families on the Ethnic Community Services Co-operative website.
Translated resources about lifelong learning include:
- Information from Vic Roads is available in a variety of languages. You can learn to drive using the in-language versions of their Learner driver handbooks on the VicRoads website. You can also access in-language fact sheets on the VicRoads website.
- You can develop your digital skills with worksheets covering the basics of using your device and connecting to the internet on the Australian Government's Be connected website. Choose the topic you’re interested in to discover translated guides.
Community langauge organisations in the media include:
- The largest ethnic community station in Australia with programs in 70 community languages is 3ZZZ and can be accessed on the 3ZZZ website.
- For news, information and music in community languages you can go to the SBS Radio website.
- To search the National Library of Australia's archives of Australian ethnic community newspapers you can visit the TROVE website.
Community language organisations with cultural events and information include:
- news and information on multicultural events in Victoria on the Victorian Multicultural Commission website
- You can learn more about the cultural background of Australia’s migrant populations on the SBS cultural atlas website
- A resource to explore Australia's cultural diversity, tolerance, and anti-racism is the Making multicultural Australia website
Community language organisations that provide community support include:
- Information on immigration, citizenship and visas is on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website
- Settlement services including help with learning English and finding a job is on the AMES website
- A range of settlement and immigration services for residents of the North-West region is on the Migrant Resource Centre North West Region website
- Community support for older Victorians living at home is on the Australian Multicultural Community Services website
- The national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them is the Refugee Council of Australia. You can find out more about their community support on the Refugee Council of Australia website.