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California is home to many new Americans. Both the number and the cultural and linguistic diversity of immigrants continue to rise. Many libraries struggle to serve people whose experiences don't include library service and whose native languages and literatures aren't represented by staff or print collections. This course will benefit you if you:

  • are concerned that portions of your community aren't being served
  • need help reaching diverse immigrants effectively
  • want to help new Americans form engaged library habits, perhaps for the first time in their lives
  • hope to build on services to immigrant children so that their families are served in other ways as well

Workshop Description: This all-day hands-on workshop focuses on library services required by new Americans at three points in their acculturation: from their arrival in the US, through their survival here and the implications this has on their information needs, to their participation in American culture. Through individual and group exercises, you will become acquainted with the informational needs of new Americans and the methods through which you can begin to address these needs effectively. The instructor will provide sample plans, a webliography, and useful tips that can be applied immediately.

Pre-workshop assignment: Students should come to the workshop already informed about the origin(s) of new Americans who are part of their service population, whether the library has been able to connect with these immigrant groups or not.

Preliminary Course Outline:

  • New Arrivals to the US
    • What do libraries mean to your new immigrant population(s)?
    • Which other local agencies have made good connections with these new Americans?
    • What information do these new Americans need most urgently?
  • Surviving in the US--and in Your Community
    • Connecting to social services
    • Connecting with schools
    • Learning to do business in your community
    • Getting information from home
  • Participating in American Culture
    • Library programs that build participatory skills and interests
    • Multilingual outreach
  • Educating American Peers
    • Service to new Americans enriches traditional library services
    • Enlisting help to make library programs culturally competent
    • Your library's Web page as a reflection of your changing community

Workshop Instructor: Francisca Goldsmith