April 25, 2018

Megan Godbey | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Change Agents

“Libraries fulfill their ultimate potential when they provide safe space for everyone…and empower patrons to realize their full potential,” says Megan Godbey. That philosophy underpins her work at the Nashville Public Library (NPL), where she initiated the Pathway for New Americans project, a partnership with the Nashville mayor’s office and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Nashville was the third such library and the first to open “citizenship corners outside the library,” she says.

Eva B. Raison | Movers & Shakers 2018 – Advocates

“The longer I work in libraries, the more I see how our mission and core principles are tied to supporting a more just and equitable society,” says Eva B. Raison. This philosophy drives her work at the Brooklyn Public Library, which serves a population that speaks more than 90 different languages and hails from 180 countries, to be as inclusive and proactive as possible.

Celebration & Integration | Public Services

Since before Ellis Island became the gateway to the United States for many, libraries have served immigrant communities with language classes and learning materials that can help ease the path toward employment and citizenship. Today, those services have expanded to include referrals to city and health-care services, cultural events honoring countries of origin, legal aid, small business and entrepreneurship assistance, and much more.

Hartford Public Library Nation’s First to Be Certified by Bureau of Immigrant Appeals

Helping patrons to fill out immigration paperwork is an increasingly important need for the community in Hartford, CT. The Hartford Public Library (HPL) is just across the street from the United States Citizenship and Immigration services office, making HPL a common destination for immigrants who need computer access to bring up information and fill out online forms—access they often don’t have at home. To ensure that HPL staff can serve the needs of this community, HPL has become the first public library in America to have staff members accredited by the Bureau of Immigrant Appeals (BIA), so they can assist immigrants with the often confusing paperwork and online forms they need to fill out to get on—and stay on—the path to permanent U.S. citizenship.