Diversity & Outreach Columns ALA's Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services


On the Road with The American Dream Starts @ your library: Berwyn Pubilc Library

By John Amundsen, OLOS Program Officer

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On Tuesday, Oct. 22,  OLOS visited its second library as part of our On The Road series, this time to Berwyn Public Library in Chicago's West suburbs. Over half of population in the area served by BPL  speaks English as a second language. To meet this need, BPL applied and received funding from The American Dream Starts @ your library initiative, which it in turn used to increase its adult literacy collection, purchase technology including iPads and a smart screen, and provide citizenship courses in the library.

On the day of our visit, BPL hosted a mock citizenship interview with Amy Stern with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for both students and tutors, in order to provide a better idea of what to expect during the interview and how best to prepare.

The newest American Dream libraries join a cohort of 100 previously funded programs in Dollar General communities. These American Dream libraries built easily replicable programs, developed coalition-building strategies and provided annotated lists of proven resources for libraries across the country serving adult English language learners.

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