About Libraries and Immigrant Communities

Every day we read news about immigrants and resolutions drafted/ proposed/ passed by counties/states around the US.  As librarians we have a social role within the communities we serve. Our work ensuring access to information to all in the community never ends.

Today, I am sharing with you two articles about the topic. One was just published in the 10/1/07  issue of Criticas Connect. The other article was published last March 07 in the Latino American Experience database (Greenwood Press). Both, have Loida Garcia-Febo as the author…

Here you have few paragraphs from both articles:

Librarians Unite to Serve Immigrant Communities = Latino American Experience database

Immigration remains an important topic for librarians who have not forgotten the issue and continue advocating access to library services for all members of the community. The latest action coming from a library association took place on January 2007 when ALA passed a Resolution in Support of Immigrant Rights stating that it was, “Resolved, that ALA strongly supports the protection of each person’s civil liberties regardless of that individual’s nationality, residency, or status; and be it further resolved that ALA opposes any legislation that infringes on the rights of anyone in the USA (citizen or otherwise) to use library resources on national, state, and local levels.”

Library decision makers across the country have started to encourage their institutions to include more cultural awareness training for their staff. Understanding multiethnic, multilingual populations has become a priority for librarians who want to satisfy the information needs of their community. Workshops on diversity for librarians to understand colleagues from other countries are being developed by many libraries.

U.S. Libraries and Anti-Immigrant Sentiment—How Librarians Are Coping with Discrimination To Better Serve Hispanic Communities = Criticas Connection

Around the world, anti-immigrant sentiments are evident. In the United States, pending immigration reform has everyone on alert. Negative attitudes towards “New Americans” have invaded communities everywhere, and libraries are not excluded. Librarians across the country now find themselves defending their rights and those of new immigrant customers from community-based organizations, colleagues, other customers, and in some cases, even elected officials.

As information professionals, we have a social role within the evolving communities we serve. Elfreda Chatman’s concept of the “Small World” is a magnificent tool that will help us understand the world of immigrants. We must try and enter the small world of immigrants in our library service area. By applying these concepts, suggestions, and recommendations shared, librarians can successfully convey the message that as a social entity, the library indeed cares for the community and its purpose is to provide resources to each community member in the various aspects of life. Finding out what the community really needs and ensuring an immigrant-friendly environment is not an extra burden for librarians, it is what we need to do in order to do our work well.


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