To meet Oklahoma’s demand for services to non-native English speakers, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) recently launched a citizenship and immigration pilot project that enables libraries to provide useful information about immigration and citizenship benefits. In collaboration with library-based literacy programs, the project promotes awareness and understanding of citizenship while reinforcing English language skills.
For many new to the U.S., libraries are a gateway to English language learning, civic engagement, and citizenship. More than 55 percent of new Americans use the public library at least once a week. They find a trusted environment, community connections, and resources that include materials on immigration and citizenship.
“We want to be part of the solution,” said Kathy Hale, director of the Southern Prairie Library System. “By providing people the resources to become citizens, they are able to become a part of the community, more productive, employed, and better able to raise their families.”