The Dayton Metro Library is committed to serving patrons who are non-native English speakers – from offering Library card applications in five languages, to conducting bilingual storytimes for parents to enjoy with their children.
“We are proud to join in Dayton’s immigrant-friendly initiatives,” said Rachel Gut, Deputy Director. “By providing Library services, spaces and materials to help new citizens integrate into the community, we are helping to build a stronger, more diverse community for all of us.”
On a Tuesday afternoon at the Northwest Branch Library, English language learners practice their conversational skills with a trained volunteer at a Talk Table. These informal gatherings, which are offered at several Branch Libraries, give individuals the opportunity to practice English in a casual setting and learn about resources available to them. To date, 65 individuals have participated.
“I really like being a Conversation Partner for the Talk Table program,” said volunteer Nancy Glidden. “It has given me an opportunity to make friends with an interesting person from Korea. What a great feeling to be able to help someone become a more confident English speaker.”
More in-depth language study is available with Mango Languages, an online learning tool at DaytonMetroLibrary.org. Individuals can choose from more than 70 languages to study at their own pace, from home or at the Library. English lessons are specialized for Arabic speakers, Turkish speakers, Somali speakers and 18 other native languages.
Each month, a representative from the Dayton Metro Library attends the swearing-in ceremony for new American citizens at the Federal Building in Dayton. They share words of welcome and offer information about Library services. There were 51 new citizens sworn in at the ceremony in August, and Cheryl Wirtley, Manager of the Miami Township Branch, was the Library’s representative.
“I found it to be a very special and moving experience,” she said. “I was astounded at how many people were there and how many countries were represented. This was a new experience for me.”
Kathleen Co, an aide who works with Wirtley at the Miami Township Branch Library, was there to take the Oath of Citizenship.
“Kathleen had no idea that I was going to be there, so I was able to surprise her,” said Wirtley. Co, who was born and raised in the Philippines, was delighted to see a friendly face from the Library congratulating the new citizens.
“When I received my citizenship certificate from the judge, I felt disbelief that I am really an American citizen,” said Co. “That quickly became an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. It’s such a huge gift and responsibility that has forever changed my life for the better. Becoming an American citizen is one of the greatest honors and joys of my life.”
For more information about Library services and materials for non-native English speakers, call 937.463.BOOK.