Starting Immigration Services at Your Library

A FREE on-demand webinar presented in partnership with ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy & Outreach Services

Are you interested in learning how to incorporate immigration services into the library? PLA and the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS) invited the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) to share valuable information about their free online tools—immi and Citizenshipworks—which can be used to expand the capacity of your citizenship corner and provide people with self-guided immigration legal assistance. IAN also discusses the ways libraries are currently using immi and Citizenshipworks in its branches. In addition, two public librarians engaged in working with the immigrant population in their communities give examples of citizenship workshops and other programs at their libraries aimed towards immigrant patrons.

Originally presented July 26, 2017.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will:

  • Recognize the importance of providing immigration services to their library communities;
  • Understand the components and features of tools like immi and Citizenshipworks and be able to guide a person through the online interviews; and
  • Know the next steps to get immigration services set up at their libraries.

Additional Resources

Who Should Attend

All library staff who work with immigrants, answer any immigration questions, or oversee legal service programs.


Sebastian ZavalaSebastian Zavala is a program manager at the Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) in San Francisco, Calif. Before he joined IAN, he was an adjudications officer for Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), interviewing applicants for naturalization and permanent residency. He also served as a chief program officer for Catholic Charities of the East Bay, director of programs at the International Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA), increasing the capacity of legal programs to serve low income clients through technology, efficient volunteer management, and cultivating the next generation of immigration advocates.

Sebastian was one of the founding members of the East Bay Naturalization Collaborative, and the Bay Area DACA Collaborative.

He received a B.A. in Raza Studies with an emphasis in behavioral and social sciences from San Francisco State University, and received a J.D. from Arizona State University, with the highest pro bono distinctions.

Zizi BanderaZizi Bandera is the community engagement coordinator at Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) in San Francisco, Calif. They have experience working for immigrant, worker, and LGBTQ rights as an organizer, policy advocate, and community educator. Prior to joining IAN, they served as an organizer and community education coordinator at the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights (CHIRLA). They are currently working towards a Master’s in Public Policy at Mills College.

Julie RobinsonJulie Robinson moved from the Anaheim (Calif.) Public Library to the Kansas City (Mo.) Public Library in 2003. She spent 11 years as an embedded librarian at the Irene H. Ruiz Biblioteca de las Americas on Kansas City’s Westside. She has been the Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment (RISE) outreach manager for almost three years.

Prior to working in public libraries, Julie was the corporate librarian for an international economics research firm and the project librarian for the Diamond Valley Reservoir project.

Helen Stewart (photo © 2016 Steven E. Gross)Helen Stewart is the literacy coordinator at the Schaumburg Township District Library—the second largest public library in Illinois. The library serves a vast array of multicultural patrons on a daily basis, and Helen represents the library in fulfilling their needs and answering their questions. Her day-to-day responsibilities range from management of a sizeable ESL collection, to liaising with local partners in class provision for the library—which includes ESL, literacy tutoring, and citizenship study classes. Hundreds of diverse patrons are served monthly. She also teaches a popular conversation club for immigrants to practice their newly acquired language skills and helps students access online and digital learning options, as well as consulting one-on-one with students who need particular literacy assistance.

She is proud to work with Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) biannually to coordinate naturalization ceremonies for new citizens at the library.

A native of the Scotland, and naturalized citizen herself, Helen has a deep understanding and empathy for the immigrant experience. She is proud to facilitate learning options for library patrons.



This on-demand webinar is free and available 24/7 for your viewing convenience.

How to Register

No registration is required.

Tech Requirements

To playback this archived webinar you should have either the latest version of Flash running on your computer, or use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).