Provide Accessible and Diverse Materials

two conversation bubbles overlapping Part of creating a library space that is welcoming and that immigrant groups perceive to be a safe and trustworthy community place, is providing accessible material and resources that represent their experiences and lives, as well as support their learning and life goals. New immigrants often desire easy access to materials in both English and their native languages, and that access to these sorts of materials - through a source they trust - can help support their own journeys in adapting to life in a new country8, while not having needed or desired materials can inhibit use of the library9. Additionally, library spaces communicate much about who is welcome through the representations depicted in displays and materials10. Our forum participants stressed the importance of making intentional efforts to represent the immigrants and refugees in your community through your materials to make everyone feel welcome.

Learn more about how to provide accessible and diverse materials from these real life examples and other resources:

Example or Resource Short Description
I’m Your Neighbor Books This organization works to provide books that accurately represent the immigrant experience, providing both a window into immigrant and refugee communities to build empathy and a mirror to validate children and family’s experiences moving and adjusting to a new culture. They offer curated lists, resources, and rapid response book kits.
Resources and Bibliographies, EMIERT Ethnic & Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) offers an extensive curated list of multicultural materials and booklists for children and families to increase representation.
How to Serve the World at Your Library, ODLOS, ALA ALA’s ODLOS also offers a detailed toolkit that contains more information on how to best serve Non-English speakers and provide support with ESL and ELL work in the library.
Library Resources for English Language Learners and Teachers, Fairfax County, VA In tandem with Fairfax County libraries, the county government offers a guide for English Language Learning that links to a variety of resources for both those that are learning English and those that wish to better support English language learners.