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Supporting Immigrants, One Oath at a Time

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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.

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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

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Emily Sheketoff

Emily Sheketoff is the former Associate Executive Director of the American Library Association's Washington Office.

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