The Board of Trustees of the Dayton Metro Library has adopted expanded services to immigrant populations as a strategic initiative for 2012. Implementation began with an internal Welcome Dayton Task Force, a group of staff passionate about outreach to these communities. The Task Force began with a review of current services and research about best practices in other libraries. They invited a number of service providers and immigrant representatives to serve on an Advisory Council to provide feedback on what is needed and how the Library is doing.
Currently, the Library offers free library cards to all residents of Ohio. We accept the Matricula Consular as identification, and library card applications are available in Spanish. (They also have voter registration forms in Spanish!) The Library’s collection includes literacy and ESL materials in multiple formats, foreign film collections and books for adults in 13 languages. They have books for children and teens in Arabic, Spanish, Turkish and Russian, along with bilingual picture books in Spanish/English. They also have some ebooks in Spanish and Russian. Online, they have the Learning Express database which includes practice testing for the U.S. Citizenship Test and Mango Languages, a self-paced language instruction database that includes English as a Second Language. Authoritative medical information is available through Medllineplus—aproduct of the National Institutes of Health. The entire site can be viewed in Spanish, and many articles can be viewed as interactive videos or“easy to read” English.
Projects now offered or in the works include: computer literacy classes offered in Spanish in collaboration with the College Hill Community Church (thanks to a grant that the Church received from the Dayton Foundation), “Talk Tables” where adults can come together and practice English in a non-stress, friendly environment (currently offered at the East Branch on Wyoming Street), more of their standard materials translated into other languages, continuing feedback from the Advisory Council, and increased presence at local community events. The Library will have a booth at the World Soccer Games and the Hispanic Heritage Festival.