For immediate release | May 29, 2013

USCIS panel discussion to highlight immigrant civic integration efforts in local libraries at ALA Annual Conference

CHICAGO — During this year’s American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will convene a panel discussion to explore the important role public libraries play in serving immigrant communities throughout the United States.

The panel will be held at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 30, 2013, at the McCormick Place Convention Center, Room N427d. The session will be moderated by Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and panelists will include Laura Patching, acting chief of the USCIS Office of Citizenship; Brian Bannon, commissioner of the Chicago Public Library and John Szabo, city librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Susan Hildreth will open the program with an overview of the recently announced partnership between USCIS and IMLS. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Through this partnership, USCIS and IMLS will provide public libraries with immigration and citizenship information, including training opportunities and educational literature for local librarians.

John Szabo and Brian Bannon will share their recent experiences and lessons learned in serving immigrants through libraries in Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively. Laura Patching will discuss USCIS’ efforts to support citizenship education and awareness initiatives at the local level and the critical role libraries play in that process.

USCIS signed a letter of agreement with the City of Los Angeles in January 2010. Under the agreement, USCIS and the City of Los Angeles announced a new initiative in September 2012 to provide the Los Angeles Public Library's 73 locations with citizenship resources and training for library staff. This included designating space in each library as "citizenship corners," which contain citizenship material and resources. In 2013, USCIS began a similar effort with the City of Chicago.

This session is sponsored by the Committee on Literacy and the American Library Association’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services.

The program is open to all conference attendees and the media. For more information about the program, visit

For more information on USCIS and its programs, visit


John L. Amundsen

Program Officer, Outreach and Communications

ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services

(312) 280-2140