Over 43 million immigrants live in the United States, making up about 13 percent of the nation’s population. More than 55 percent of new Americans use their public library at least once a week, according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to access English language learning classes, citizenship and civic educational programs, and a vital support network.
To help libraries better serve these populations, the American Library Association (ALA) has released a white paper exploring how U.S. public libraries can provide the services new Americans need to thrive. “Library Programs and New Americans: A White Paper,” is the result of a six-month research project conducted by ALA’s Public Programs Office and a team of public library workers and partner organizations.
Recommendations for public library staff include:
- Assess community needs
- Foster partnerships with community organizations
- Offer professional development opportunities for staff and volunteers
- Include new Americans in decision-making and implementation
- Use terms that resonate with your specific community
- Develop multilingual resources
- Foster connections between new Americans and existing residents
- Create more intergenerational programming
- Build sustainable services
Download the white paper at newamericans.ala.org.
The New Americans Library Project was funded by a grant from The JPB Foundation.