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The Evanston Public Library (EPL) has plans to be a welcoming beacon for new immigrants living in Evanston, employing a variety of approaches to meet the needs of and integrate these new community members.
EPL will host a Welcoming Event for new immigrants at 7 p.m. on Sept. 19 at the Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. Library personnel will register new library cards and provide information about Library services and programming. Volunteer Evanston will be on hand to let people learn how to become more involved in the community through volunteerism.
This casual meet-and-greet event is being held by the Library in conjunction with Welcoming America’s National Welcoming Week, Sept. 15-22.
Everyone is invited to attend, from new immigrants to long-time Evanston residents.
In another venture to enhance service to immigrants, on Sept. 26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the EPL, in partnership with Uniting America, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), will host a training for library staff and other public institutions so they can better serve communities and respond to the increase of immigrants in suburban areas. This hands-on training, which will educate on citizenship, naturalization, and area services for immigrants, is part of a USCIS statewide effort to provide more resources and services for the immigrant community.
This training is not for individuals seeking citizenship, but rather for those who serve in public institutions.
On the second floor of the Main Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., there is a new, dedicated area of resources for immigrants, which includes information regarding attaining citizenship, social service providers, and highlighted materials from the Library’s collection of materials in Spanish.
Planning is underway for a dedicated EPL Immigrant Resource Center. This space will display resource materials and serve as a designated meeting and consultation space for service providers.
Library Director Karen Danczak Lyons says, “Ideally we will welcome a vast array of service providers that would staff regular service hours each month. EPL would create, maintain, and advertise a calendar of services, and our patrons would become aware of and rely upon the free, confidential services that our community partners would provide.”