CHICAGO – The Bentonville (Ark.) Public Library recently hosted a United States Naturalization Ceremony to mark the beginning of The American Dream Starts @ your library grant program. This American Library Association (ALA) initiative supports literacy services for adult English language learners. The American Dream Starts @ your library is generously supported by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.
U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren presided over the ceremony. Thirty adults from 14 countries took the Oath of Citizenship before an audience of federal, state and city officials, friends and family members.
Following the ceremony, new American citizens Francisco and Ingrid Maldonado said, “The naturalization ceremony at the Bentonville Public Library was amazing. This is our American dream. We are citizens of the greatest nation on earth.”
“This was our first naturalization ceremony,” said library director Hadi Dudley. “It’s very special.”
In addition to hosting the ceremony, the library gave each new American a citizenship toolkit that included voter registration cards, information from the Literacy Council of Benton County and a dictionary or thesaurus.
In April 2010, as part of The American Dream Starts @ your library, ALA awarded $5,000 grants to 75 public libraries in 24 states to build innovative literacy services for adult English language learners living and working in their communities. The libraries are expanding their print and digital literacy collections, offering classes and conversation clubs, developing mobile tech labs and reaching out to immigrant organizations. A complete list of the winning libraries is available at www.ala.org/americandream.
About Dollar General
Dollar General is a leading discount retailer with more than 8,800 neighborhood stores. Dollar General stores provide convenience and value to customers by offering consumable basic items such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at everyday low prices. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $40 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 2.1 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about Dollar General, visit www.dollargeneral.com
Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a Partner in the Campaign for America’s Libraries, ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible in part by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations.
Other Partners include Carnegie Corporation of New York, Disney Book Group, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Univision Radio and Woman’s Day magazine.
The American Dream Starts @ your library is administered by the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS).