CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) has published a set of guidelines for library services and programming that facilitate recent immigrants’ inclusion and participation in society while preserving and promoting their distinct cultural and linguistic heritages.
The library’s role as a place for self-education, enlightenment, citizenship and English language learning is especially relevant, as 14 percent of Americans are now foreign-born. The combined population share of immigrants and their U.S.-born children, 26 percent today, is projected to rise to 36 percent in 2065, according to the Pew Research Center.
This resource provides practical guidance for libraries on the issues to consider when planning and designing library programs and services for new immigrant populations. Topics included are Collection Development, Programming and Services, Staffing and Personnel and Community Engagement.
“Public libraries are particularly challenged to serve a variety of ethnic communities within different neighborhoods, reflecting the multitude of nations from around the world,” said Mimi Lee, chair of the Guideline for Outreach to Immigrant Populations Task Force, and consultant for diversity and literacy services at the New Jersey State Library- Trenton.
“These guidelines offer ideas and tips for libraries that wish to provide programs and services for immigrants and serves as a starting for libraries that wish to help enable their immigrant patrons to realize their full potential, contribute more to the U.S. economy, and develop deeper community ties.”
The recommendations in this document are the result of a Guideline for Outreach to Immigrant Populations Task Force by EMIERT, whose mission is to provide a forum for the exchange of information on library materials and resources in English and other languages and to promote service for all ethnolinguistic and multicultural communities in general.
The guidelines are viewable on EMIERT’s Resources and Bibliographies page.
Founded in 1982, the Ethnic and Multicultural Information and Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) serves as a source of information for recommended ethnic and multilingual collections, services and programs.