Selina Sharmin on Reaching Immigrant Populations

The makeup of our communities is changing. Immigrants continue to come to New York and other cities to find a better life, but suburbs and even rural areas have become destinations as well. Libraries, being the most democratic of our institutions, have always tried to meet the needs of the entire community. Many immigrants, however, come from countries without a public library tradition. The challenge is to understand their needs and find ways to make them aware of what an American public library can offer, as more and more libraries are becoming community centers.

This presentation will focus on outreach to attract newcomers to the library. We’ll look at different means of promotion that have proven effective at Queens Public Library by focusing on the customer. There will be a brief overview of Queens’ immigrant population, which is the most ethnically diverse in the country, and highlight our outreach to specific ethnic communities.

At New Americans Program we keep in mind two goals: 1) assisting immigrants to adjust to life in the US and 2) celebrating the many cultures around us and providing an opportunity for sharing them with the community-at-large.

Part of the Augusta Baker Lecture effort and the course SLIS 752 – Diversity in Libraries.

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