Totschka Berlin – more than just a library

Project info

Operator: Totschka – Children’s and Youth Library Berlin e.V.
founded in 2021
Association headquarters: Berlin
Approx. 500 members, 15 volunteer staff members
Contact: Svetlana Schwald (culture and media manager), co-director

Location: Prenzlauer Allee 216, Bezirk Berlin-Pankow, Germany

Project: Growing Totschka Library – Move from Schöneberg to Pankow to larger premises

Our support:
Contribution to the costs of this project in the amount of € 4,000
Funding period: 1st half of 2024

Totschka is a children’s and youth library by the post-East community for the post-East community in Berlin. The post-Soviet community is the largest immigrant group in Germany. Nevertheless, languages from the post-Soviet region are underrepresented in most Berlin libraries or the communities are often not reached.

That is why parents and creative professionals from this community founded Totschka in 2021 as a multilingual learning space for children from post-East families in Berlin. In the Totschka library, they can discover the diversity of identity(ies) through literature and develop skills for intercultural understanding.

Totschka-Bibliothek Berlin

The project operator

The non-profit association opened the Totschka library in the Kulturhaus Schöneberg in summer 2022 and has been providing around 100 visitors a week with literature for children and young people ever since.

For many, Totschka has become a meeting place – for some even “the best place in Berlin”. Multilingual cultural education workshops, readings and lectures also take place here. The library now has over 4,000 items in Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian and German.

The association is self-organized and the library is run by volunteers.

Project “Growing Totschka Library”

Not only the collection, but also the number of visitors is growing steadily. The management team is also planning to expand the range to include other formats and languages from the post-Soviet region. The aim is to expand the reach and intercultural participation.

Totschka-Bibliothek Berlin
Totschka-Bibliothek Berlin

New, larger and brighter premises were sought for the growing library in the second half of 2023 and found in the district of Pankow. Totschka can develop here in the long term. Media and activities now take place on 93 square meters and in 3 separate rooms.

In concrete terms, the expansion of the possibilities means:

  • doubling the workshop and reading capacities;
  • to expand the stock by 5,000 books in several languages;
  • to be able to welcome up to 40 people at the same time;
  • space for baby carriages.
Totschka-Bibliothek Berlin
Totschka-Bibliothek Berlin
Totschka-Bibliothek Berlin
Totschka-Bibliothek Berlin

Many people from the post-Soviet region have only recently arrived in Berlin and are strangers in this big city. The multilingual focus of the library removes the language barrier for new arrivals and creates low-threshold access to cultural education and social participation. This enables people to find their way out of isolation more quickly.

Svetlana Schwand, Co-Head – responsible for fundraising and organization

Why we are committed to the project

What particularly appeals to us about this project is the offer of a place of learning where children and young people can develop and expand their reading skills and intercultural competencies with literature in their mother tongue.

Reading is a prerequisite for understanding, communication and self-determined learning. And what’s more, there are simply wonderful stories that create fantastic images and worlds within us.


The expansion of the library alone speaks for the importance of this learning and meeting place in Berlin. We wish the association team many more reading-loving guests and enriching events in the future! Perhaps we too can visit Totschka soon …