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  • 'Welcome to the Library' video series premieres Dec. 14 at The Loft

    Dec 10, 2013 | Read More News
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    Imagine being from a different country, speaking a language other than English, and trying to understand how a public library works.

    video seriesWith Pima County’s growing population of refugee and immigrant groups from Iraq, Bhutan, Somalia, Mexico, Central America, and South America, Pima County Public Library (PCPL) saw a good opportunity to help more people in our community access information.

    On Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to noon, at The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., PCPL is premiering our “Welcome to the Library” video series. The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow the screening. Library Executive Director Melinda Cervantes will be speaking at the event as well.

    The project, which was funded by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, was spearheaded in 2012 to help non-English speaking patrons understand library basics. The core of the project focused on being culturally responsive to the needs of this special population. As a result, the videos were produced in English and five other languages including Arabic (spoken in Iraq), Maay-Maay and Somali (spoken in Somalia), Nepalese (spoken in Bhutan and Nepal), and Spanish (spoken in Mexico and Central/South America). DVDs of the videos can be checked out at any library branch or viewed on a library public computer. The full series can also be viewed online.

    “Language and culture can create barriers to information that many of us can’t imagine,” said Tara Foxx-Lupo, Librarian and Project Manager. “We want the library to be seen as a friendly, welcoming place, so using common terminology and phrases in the video narration to explain how to get a library card, borrowing and returning materials, and how fines work was really important.”

    The videos were produced in collaboration with The University of Arizona Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology.

    The Library also partnered with local refugee service providers such as Horizons for Refugee Families to identify the most important issues and what these communities wanted to see. Other providers such as Refugee Focus, Catholic Community Services, and the International Rescue Committee are partnering with PCPL to promote the videos to their clients. Copies of the video have been distributed to several service providers and partners to be shown on-site and will be incorporated in cultural orientations and other programs.

    According to Foxx-Lupo, involving members of the communities throughout the process made the videos more authentic and accessible. “We built relationships which will only help us to build momentum and increase the library’s visibility in some of our most hard to reach communities.”

    Library staff will be on hand at this Saturday’s farmers’ market outside The Loft Cinema to provide information and materials about library programs and services including: Homework Help, GED and English language classes, job help, computer and citizenship classes, and Storytimes.

    Pima County Public Library (PCPL), which is headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, has 27 libraries serving Tucson, unincorporated Pima County, and surrounding communities including Ajo, Arivaca, Catalina, Green Valley, Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, and South Tucson. By promoting literacy and reading through books, programs, and a wide range of free services such as audiobooks, eBooks, Homework Help, and Job Help, the Library is enriching lives, providing opportunities to learn, create, and connect, and contributing to the economic development of the community. For more information, visit www.library.pima.gov.