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In the United States today, more and more people come from somewhere else. Educated or illiterate, looking for a job as an unskilled laborer or hoping to get into graduate school, these newcomers all have one thing in common: they need to learn the English language and to become familiar with American culture and customs. And where do they go to find help? To libraries, which are now finding themselves on the front lines of the English as a Second Language issue.

  • Do you need to build a new ESL collection or revitalize an existing one?
  • Do you know what materials to recommend when people ask what they can do to improve their English pronunciation?
  • Do you know where to find up-to-date citizenship materials?

This full-day workshop will help you understand the special needs of adult second language learners. You will discover how to build and organize your ESL collection and successfully reach out to the people who need ESL services.

Workshop Description: The workshop will provide participants with the practical tools needed to build or enhance an ESL collection. Through individual and group exercises, you will complete a needs assessment of the non-English stakeholders in your community and learn how to address those needs. You will learn the major areas of second language acquisition, which include listening, speaking, reading and writing. You will learn how to evaluate ESL materials ? print, audio-visual and online - by examining online catalogs and web sites. By the end of the class, you will complete a list of materials appropriate for your community, you will know how to organize those materials, and you will be able to publicize them. The instructor will provide handouts on how to evaluate ESL materials in a variety of formats, as well as a list of recommended materials.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • ESL Overview
    • Introduction to general theories of language learning
    • Discussion of your library's current practices
    • Assessment of the needs of your community
  • Physical Language Learning Materials
    • Appraisal of the best materials to purchase for your stakeholders (audio cassettes, videos and DVD's and texts)
    • An exploration of the best sources for these materials
  • Online Resources
    • Evaluation of the best Internet sources for ESL (free)
    • Evaluation of the best electronic resources for ESL (subscription)
  • Planning My Collection
    • List making for your library
    • Physical organization of your collection
    • Spreading the word

Workshop Instructor: Ruth Gooley