Connect with Community Partners

Graphic of head & shoulders images connectingCommunity partnerships are often seen as essential for developing trust with immigrant groups, particularly those that might have fears or concerns about the institutional nature of the public library6. Partnerships with groups that are already embedded and involved with immigrant and refugee groups can help libraries connect with these groups, as well as provide insight into the experiences of immigrants, and their needs. These partnerships help communicate to immigrant groups that the library is a trustworthy organization6. Additionally, collaborative community partnerships can help bridge gaps in resources, staff time, and expertise to increase the impact of both library and community organizations’ work with immigrant communities7.

Our forum participants recommended looking for organizations that are already serving the immigrant group you are targeting. These organizations may be a good place to start:

  • Churches
  • Refugee Centers
  • Cultural Organizations
  • Clinics and hospitals
  • WIC offices and other government agencies
  • Parks and playgrounds
  • Shelters
  • ESL classes or school systems
  • Neighborhood stores

Learn more about how to connect with community partners from these real life examples and other resources:

Example or Resource Short Description
Engage, Cultivate, Provide, Assess White Paper This ALSC white paper provides a model for outreach that emphasizes the importance of community partners in reaching and working with underserved groups like new immigrants. It provides recommendations for this work and case study examples from diverse libraries.
Providing Immigration Help with Community Partnerships, ALA eLearning During this one hour, on-demand webinar, the focus is on helping library staff develop community partnerships to further library service to immigrant groups and presents an example from Fox River Valley Public Library District in Chicago.
How to Build Partnerships with Immigrant Families Guide, Colorin Colorado While directed at school teachers, this helpful guide presents a variety of resources and tips on how to connect and partner with immigrant and refugee families, along with other community organizations that work with them. Short videos accompany the text.
Museum & Community Partnerships: Collaboration Guide and additional resources, NSF Focused on helping museums form effective partnerships with a variety of youth-focused community organizations, this guide offers extensive tools and tips that could be applicable to forming relationships with youth-focused organizations who work with immigrant and refugee populations.