All people live in an increasingly heterogeneous society. There are more than 6,000 different languages in the world. The international migration rate is growing every year resulting in an increasing number of people with complex identities. Globalization, increased migration, faster communication, ease of transportation and other 21st century forces have increased cultural diversity in many nations where it might not have previously existed or has augmented the existing multicultural makeup.
- IFLA Multicultural Library Manifesto, 2009
Multicultural Communities: Guidelines for Library Services. Third Edition. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. P.O. Box 95312, 2509 CH, The Hague, Netherlands. Tel: +31-70-3140-884; Fax: +31-70-3834-827; e-mail: IFLA@ifla.org; Web site: http://www.ifla.org, 2009. Print.
“ Diversity is a fundamental value of the association and its members, and is reflected in its commitment to recruiting people of color and people with disabilities to the profession and to the promotion and development of library collections and services for all people”
ALA Policy Manual. Section 60: Diversity .
Resolution in support of immigrants' rights to free public library access. (ALA – REFORMA, 2005)
“ RESOLVED, that the American Library Association work with REFORMA and other affiliates to develop a public information strategy to inform and educate public libraries and member constituents about alternate forms of identification that will allow free public access to library services for ALL immigrant populations .”
Demographics (based on language, country of origin)
RUSA RSS Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users
RUSA RSS Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Multilingual Collections and Services
Library Bill of Rights / Declaracion de los Derechos de las Bibliotecas
Freedom to Read
Access to Library Services Partnerships Organizations to seek out as likely partners: • Government agencies • Community-based organizations • Immigrant organizations • Adult education providers • Local universities and community colleges • Faith-based organizations • Local public school systems • Social services agencies • Refugee and resettlement organizations • Local business associations and service clubs Library Services for Immigrants: A Report on Current Practices . Washington, D.C.: Office of Citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2006. Internet resource
The staff of The American Place, an immigration program at the Hartford Public Library in Connecticut, took advantage of the proximity of their library to government offices and developed a close working relationship with the local USCIS Hartford Field Office. Library staff members regularly participate in community meetings hosted by the Hartford Field Office to provide input on local immigration matters. The Queens Borough Public Library in New York has a partnership with the Queens Health Network, the largest healthcare provider in the area. They work together to plan monthly “coping skills” workshops addressing the health needs of immigrants and featuring speakers from two local public hospitals. The King County Library System in the state of Washington joined forces with a local literacy organization, a church, and the USCIS Seattle District Office to develop a pilot program called “Centered on Citizenship.” The program’s goal is to involve teen tutors in preparing adult and elderly citizenship applicants for the naturalization process. Tutoring includes question-and-answer practice for the naturalization test as well as English language dictation practice. In addition, applicants get training and practice in techniques to help them handle the stress that may arise during their naturalization interview. Library Services for Immigrants: A Report on Current Practices . Washington, D.C.: Office of Citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2006. Internet resource.
Access to Library Services Outreach Strategies for helping immigrant patrons feel welcome and valued in the library: • Serve on the library board. • Library tours • Roundtable discussions • Participate in local public events to publicize the library’s services for immigrants • Print a brief brochure or flyer • Develop public service announcements (PSAs) for local radio stations. Library Services for Immigrants: A Report on Current Practices . Washington, D.C.: Office of Citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2006. Internet resource
The Outreach Librarian at the Boulder Public Library considers outreach to be inextricably linked to partnerships. Her first step as an Outreach Librarian was to attend meetings held by community groups and other organizations. In collaboration with other agencies, the library was able to initiate an Immigration and U.S. Citizenship Advocacy Group consisting of representatives of local government agencies, schools, adult education and literacy programs, and other organizations. The Queens Borough Public Library distributes “Help!” booklets and bookmarks to assist immigrant library patrons. Available in English and 12 other languages, the “Help!” materials feature basic library terminology. “ Library Links!,” the multilingual outreach program of the Minneapolis Public Library in Minnesota, has six Bilingual Outreach Liaisons. These library staff members develop partnerships, attend community events, make regular contact with other organizations to inform them about library programs and events, and help introduce immigrants to the library. Bilingual Outreach Liaisons also work regular shifts at the library so that patrons will know when bilingual assistance is available. In addition, they also translate all appropriate library-produced literature and provide training workshops for teachers who work with immigrants. Library Services for Immigrants: A Report on Current Practices . Washington, D.C.: Office of Citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 2006. Internet resource.
7. The library is helping to provide opportunities for recent immigrants to learn English. We have ESL tapes, bilingual dictionaries and literacy classes. How else are they going to learn! People don't learn English just because you pass a law. They need to be provided with opportunities to learn English.
Write a grant so you can bring performers, authors, and renowned special guests
Include music, dancing, puppetry, and treats in the story hour
Work with artists and personalities in the community
Celebrate significant cultural events such as the independence day of the countries of origin of the majority of the groups in your community, Three King’s Day, Dia de los niños, NOCHE DE CUENTOS, etc.
Library programming must first and foremost respond to the needs of customers and potential customers.
Take the time to introduce the myriad resources available at the library, so that they can find a job, read about what is happening in their home country, and find a good book.
As part of the program, introduce audience to related library resources and information on how to use the library in their own language.
A performance by a local folkdance group would be followed by a brief discussion of the books, web links and other resources available on the particular dance tradition, the country and other art forms.
Always have bilingual handouts that include information on how to sign up for a library card
Coping Skills: Free lectures and workshops in the most widely spoken immigrant languages of Queens on topics essential to new immigrants' acculturation, such as citizenship and job training information, advice on helping children learn, and information on available social services.
Cultural Programs: Free readings, concerts and workshops celebrating the literary, performing and folk arts of immigrants from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Broward County Library’s Newcomers/New Americans Program www.bplfoundation.org/newcomers.htm
Designed to assist residents from other countries, whose primary language is not English, or who are not English proficient, to successfully maneuver life and living in America, offering courses to develop employability skills, computer skills, citizenship orientation, parenting, home buying, cultural programs and young adult forums in Spanish, Haitian Creole and Portuguese.A Multiethnic Resource Online Directory was produced with funding from this program that includes civic and political organizations, cultural groups, educational organizations, gay and lesbian organizations, media organization and religious organizations. It also includes a listing of festivals and other cultural celebrations.