Today, I had the opportunity to witness library immigration services in action. To celebrate National Library Week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) hosted a special naturalization ceremony for 25 U.S. citizen candidates at the Library of Congress in the nation’s capital. The event recognized the many ways that libraries help immigrants and link people to government services.
Additionally, the event announced a new partnership between USCIS and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to provide immigration and citizenship information to public libraries across the United States. Susan Hildreth, director of IMLS, gave keynote remarks at the event.
Hildreth speaking at the ceremony
“We are partnering with libraries to inform immigrants about citizenship,” said USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas after administering the Oath of Allegiance to the candidates. “It’s a very important collaboration.”
(Left to right): Hildreth, Mayorkas, and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
For the next few weeks, the American Library Association will provide online e-government and immigrant services seminars to library staff at no charge. The next webinar, titled “Taking Action: Legal Barriers to Library Services to Immigrants & Access to Information,” will take place May 1, 2013 (register now). Additionally, REFORMA, the ALA Washington Office and the ALA Office for Library Advocacy will host a free webinar on May 14, 2013 (more details to come later).
Learn more about how your library can support immigrants, visit libegov.org/at-your-library/immigration/programming.
Emily Sheketoff is the Executive Director of the American Library Association's Washington Office.
Today, American Library Association (ALA) President Maureen Sullivan joined Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, along with twelve government agencies and organizations, to sign the “Declaration of Learning,” a statement that formally announces their partnership as members of the Inter-Agency Collaboration on Learning.
Signed on the Treaty of Paris Desk at the Department of State Headquarters, the declaration recognizes participating institutions for their commitment to use historic artifacts in their collections to create digital learning tools for students and educators.
Sec. Clinton with IMLS’ Susan Hildreth and Maureen Sullivan
“As a representative of libraries that are using cutting-edge digital learning tools to teach students and patrons the skills that they need to succeed, I am pleased to take part in this critical partnership,” said Sullivan. “The Declaration of Learning helps to ensure that library patrons have access to digital learning resources from the historic Diplomatic Reception Rooms.”
Additionally, the signing ceremony honors Secretary Clinton for her role in the completion of the “Patrons of Diplomacy” initiative, which established the first permanent endowment for the Diplomatic Reception Rooms and the funding to launch education programs to share the Rooms and their objects with people around the world.
Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services signed the declaration, along with David Ferriero, archivist of the United States. Other institutions participating in the Inter-Agency Collaboration on Education include:
- Library of Congress
- National Park Service
- Smithsonian Institutions
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- National Endowment for the Arts, Newseum
- National Center for Literacy Education
- National Council of Teachers of English
- National Council for the Social Studies
- Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U.S. Department of State
View the full Declaration of Learning. Learn more at www.state.gov
Jazzy Wright is the Press Officer of the American Library Association's Washington Office. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, Director for the Office of Head Start
On April 24, 2012 during National Library Legislative Day, Susan Hildreth, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) director, and Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, director of the Office of Head Start, met at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. to sign an Information Memorandum between the two federal agencies. Yesterday, the agreement between the three offices became official with the issuance of an “Information Memorandum,” the Administration for Children and Families’ instrument for formal communication with the agencies it funds. This Information Memorandum creates a natural partnership and encourages the collaborations efforts between federally funded early child care programs and public libraries throughout the country.
The Information Memorandum signed by Ms. Sanchez Fuentes and Ms. Hildreth states
Public libraries provide centers for learning in nearly every community in the United States, and it is important for children and families to learn about and recognize public libraries as a valuable resource. Libraries offer rich learning environments for children and their families and caregivers.
This memorandum will allow for greater early learning opportunities for all young students and their families in their local community library.
Jeffrey P. Kratz
Assistant Director, Office of Government Relations, ALA Washington Office
Jeffrey Kratz is the Assistant Director of ALA Washington Office's Office of Government Relations (OGR).
U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, today launched DigitalLiteracy.gov, a gateway to class materials, research, online learning tools and more. Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) created the portal in partnership with nine federal agencies to provide librarians, teachers, workforce trainers and others a central location to share digital literacy content and practices. In his remarks the Secretary acknowledged the important work of libraries in supporting workforce development and job training. He also acknowledged ALA Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff and Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Director Susan Hildreth for the contributions and support ALA and IMLS provided during the development of the digital literacy portal.
“Librarians know that digital opportunity depends not only on access to computers and broadband, but the skills necessary to successfully navigate the online world and be more competitive in the 21st century,” Sheketoff said. “Today’s launch represents an important first step in gathering a wide range of resources that librarians can use and expand to meet the needs of our students, families and communities.”
Libraries of all types can take advantage of the portal in multiple ways:
- Search the “Find Educator Tools” tab to identify ready-to-use curriculum, research and tools that can be used with staff and volunteers to deliver patron training;
- Add content and connect with other practitioners via the “Collaborate” tab;
- Point library patrons to the “Learn the Basics” tab to access tutorials and basic learning games and tools;
- Use the “Learn Job Skills” tab to assist patrons in their job searches and workforce development training; and
- Learn about successful digital literacy projects in communities across the country via the “In the Community” tab.
The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy’s (OITP) newly formed digital literacy taskforce roster (pdf) also will be reviewing the portal to identify opportunities to add library content and resources.
“We know libraries of all types are engaged in digital literacy activities,” said OITP Assistant Director Marijke Visser. “We encourage library staff to share their knowledge and expertise. Take advantage of this resource and opportunity to increase the visibility of libraries’ contributions.”
DigitalLiteracy.gov was created by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in partnership with
the Department of Education and other federal agencies: the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Federal Communications Commission, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Labor. The portal was developed in response to a specific recommendation in the National Broadband Plan to address barriers to broadband adoption and utilization.
Maryland’s two U.S. senators, Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin, were both enthusiastic about the potential of the digital literacy portal as a tool for librarians, educators, and community members who teach digital literacy skills. Mikulski sees it as one tool that will help close the digital divide by providing all people with the skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities made possible by high-speed broadband and the Internet.