Hasan Minhaj at the Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia on March 24. Photo: Laura Kinser

Newsmaker: Hasan Minhaj

June 1, 2018

You share some intensely personal experiences in Homecoming King about being the child of an immigrant. Was it hard deciding what to codify into comedy? In a comedy special you have only 70 minutes, so a lot of times you’re working with coffee and you need to boil it down to comedy espresso. I’m trying to … Continue reading Newsmaker: Hasan Minhaj


Junot Díaz

Newsmaker: Junot Díaz

May 1, 2018

Islandborn is your first book for kids. What was its inspiration? There were multiple inspirations. A lot of it was being a writer with godchildren, nephews, and nieces always saying, “Hey, will you write us a story?” And knowing that I should write them a story, because when I was growing up a kid of … Continue reading Newsmaker: Junot Díaz


Learning Spanish First

May 1, 2018

In California, more than 565,000 Spanish-speaking adults cannot read or write in any language, according to the 2010–2012 American Community Survey. This affects their ability to learn English, to support their children’s education, and to advance in the workplace. It often leaves them feeling vulnerable and isolated. In 2015, the James Irvine Foundation funded an … Continue reading Learning Spanish First


A Welcome Place

February 10, 2018

“Libraries carve out a special place for refugees in our community,” said Joseph Wismann-Horther, integration partnership supervisor for Colorado Refugee Services Program. He said there has been a mischaracterization of refugees in the US in the media and by elected officials since the 2016 election. Libraries can help combat these falsehoods, he noted. Wismann-Horther began … Continue reading A Welcome Place



The North York Central Library branch of Toronto Public Library hosted a Syrian newcomers event to welcome its newest patrons. Photo: Toronto Public Library.

Project Welcome

September 22, 2017

Since 1975 the United States has accepted more than 3 million refugees. Despite current restrictions, more than 45,000 arrived between October 2016 and June 2017. The American Library Association (ALA) recognizes America’s immigrants as strong and valuable members of the social fabric of this nation, and the Library Bill of Rights states that a person’s right … Continue reading Project Welcome


Desiree Alexander, Instructional Technology Supervisor for Caddo Parish Public Schools and founder of Educator Alexander Consulting, speaks at the American Library Association’s 2017 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago on June 24, 2017

Serving Teens of Color

June 24, 2017

Tagoe partnered with Catholic Charities of Dallas to add programs to the summer reading program and provide citizenship information for immigrants and refugees. Alexander stressed the importance of promoting and branding your library. “Promote like your life depends on it,” she declared. Using social media is a first step, but she also recommended involving teens in … Continue reading Serving Teens of Color


Jelani Cobb speaks at the ACLU of Illinois luncheon, March 17, 2017.

Old Snake, New Skin

March 20, 2017

So when the ACLU of Illinois held its annual luncheon at the Hilton Chicago on March 17, FTRF and other staffers from the American Library Association (ALA) headquarters joined some 2,000 other like-minded individuals for its program on “Fighting for a More Perfect Union.” Although the topics addressed did not touch on libraries per se, … Continue reading Old Snake, New Skin


Touger Vang (left), public services coordinator at Yolo County (Calif.) Public Library, speaks to attendees at the Project Welcome summit on February 6. Photo: Rebecca Lomax/American Libraries

Resources for Resettlement

February 14, 2017

The refugee crisis isn’t new. According to the US State Department, more than 3.3 million refugees—persons fleeing their home country to escape persecution, war, or violence—have resettled in the US since 1975. But the summit seemed timely, as the legality as to who should be welcomed within US borders is tested, and debate among the … Continue reading Resources for Resettlement



From left: Irene Munster, associate director of the Priddy Library for the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland; Raymond Pun, first-year student success librarian at California State University, Fresno; and Sharon McQueen, a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin‒Madison.

Immigrants and the Library

August 18, 2016

Irene Munster, associate director of the Priddy Library for the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Maryland, described the waves of Jewish immigrants to Argentina from 1889 to the 1930s, many of whom established their own library collections in Yiddish, Russian, German, or Polish languages in the towns and cities they settled in. As refugees … Continue reading Immigrants and the Library