Immigrant Nation: calling libraries to take action

Immigrant Nation: a call to take action


Barbara Hoffer’s Immigrant Nation: How public libraries select materials for a growing population whose first language is not English (Library Journal, 9/1/2008) is a call for action. The time has come when libraries across the nation should start planning how to build collections in languages other than English for the multicultural populations in their communities.


The article calls attention to the demographic composition of the US population and how “currently, the foreign born make up about 12 percent of the population, but the guess is that by 2025 they will make up 15 percent…” 


A large number of those won’t speak English and it is a good practice to start looking at ways to provide collections (and programs and services) in their languages. I echo the words of Barbara Hoffer: we need to take action now.


Hoffer highlights strategies that libraries such as Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco public libraries have established to build collections in languages spoken by ethnic groups in their library service areas. The importance of being aware of community demographics is discussed. Queens Library – a model followed by libraries worldwide – carefully plans all programs and services based on the demographics of each community library service area.

A comprehensive list of booksellers and another list of formats by language are included. Read more here. 



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