Involve Community Members

graphic of house

Personal connections are often how immigrants become aware of and develop trust in the library. Involving community members who are well-connected and embedded within immigrant and refugee groups already can be helpful at creating connections between key leaders within groups and the library11. While involving other community members in library work with immigrants and refugees, can help make new groups feel welcome to the local area and build empathy among new neighbors. Libraries have set up successful training programs for community members to help them engage in conversation with new immigrants and connect with additional resources they may need, such as ESL classes12.

Learn more about how to involve community members from these real life examples and other resources:

Example or Resource Short Description
Cultural Navigator Program at Hartford Public Library, CT Provides a training program for volunteer cultural navigators who assist with welcoming immigrants into the local community. Their website has a variety of training resources and examples of the types of support libraries can utilize for their own staff training in working with immigrants or begin to build up their own cultural navigator volunteer program.

World Storytimes Manual, King County Library System, WA King County has been working to offer storytimes in a multitude of languages, providing and appealing to multiple immigrant groups within their service area. To do this, they have worked on recruiting and training paid native-speakers from the community to serve as storytime providers. OCLC’s Webjunction currently hosts a training manual that may be helpful if considering something similar.
Global Guides, Penn Museum This short article provides a closer look at the work Penn Museum has begun to engage local immigrant groups as docents. Benefits have included increased visitor numbers and a more inclusive environment.