Jungle Books: Calais migrant camp’s newly opened library needs books!


Jungle Books (or Livres de la jungle in French), the makeshift library at the Calais migrant camp known as ‘The Jungle’ is in urgent need of books to populate its shelves and desks.

Already, the publishing industry has heeded the call, with Verso Books already sending books across the channel. But many more are needed.

Mary Jones, a British teacher who set up the library, wants to add more books in the native languages of the migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, and hopes that eventually, the camp inhabitants will run the library.

Besides stocking around 200 books, the Guardian reports: “the library supports a school that offers classes to the refugees and asylum seekers that live in the camp.”

The library is stocked with giveaways, supplied by donations and staffed by a stream of volunteers sympathetic to the plight of the refugees whose stories continue to dominate the news right across Europe. So far, it stocks fiction and children’s books, dictionaries, reference books ad business titles. Yet Jones wanted to go beyond that. She told Publishing Perspectives: “I wanted to start something that offered real, practical help. Many people here are well-educated — they want to get on and they want books that will help them read and write English, apply for jobs, fill-in forms.”

Among the popular books at the camp are Gone Girl and Lord of the Rings, while there are also books by Tom Wolfe and John Grisham.

Requests have been issued for more literature – from books and dictionaries to texts and zines – in any and all languages. Camp inhabitants ask for all sorts of books, according to Jones, including short stories and poetry, and she made a specific request for the following donations: “Pashto-French dictionaries, Pashto-English dictionaries, Eritrean dictionaries, books in native languages.”

To contact Jungle Books directly, email Mary Jones.

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