America is a melting pot of immigrants; public libraries should support them as they transition into American society. Libraries need to provide materials that these immigrants need/want. “From 1880 to 1920, more than twenty million immigrants arrived in the US.” As immigrants came from all around the world, public libraries established foreign-language collections to help them. By having these collections, librarians were fostering immigrants continued interest in reading, as well as getting insight into the immigrants’ culture. During the immigration peak in the 1920’s, many public libraries felt responsible for “Americanizing the immigrant.” Public libraries had material that immigrants could borrow, as well as classes to help immigrants become accustomed to American life. Some of these classes included: English (speaking, reading, writing), American history, cultural customs, and etiquette training for women. Not only were they helping immigrants with reading and writing, in addition public libraries assisted adult Americans that were illiterate. This gave rise to the Adult Education Movement. This movement is still present today, with many public libraries offering citizenship materials for immigrants and literacy classes.(28)
Manchester has a diverse population, having many different cultures in the city. The Manchester City Library has a foreign language collection with many different languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish. Also, having a collection of test books including GED and career guidance will help many adults. Recently the Manchester City Library added a citizenship corner, for people who are looking to prepare for the citizenship test. These materials come in a variety of different languages including “Arabic, Spanish, Tagalog, Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese.” There are resources for children in the citizenship corner too.(29)
Public libraries have established connections with different museums. With these connections, families are able to visit local and regional museums, not having to pay full price for admission, or getting in for free. These connections benefit everyone. The Manchester City Library has formed such connections with various museums, allocating some of their funds to subscribe for the museum passes. These museums are diverse in their offerings, patrons can choose some that might interest them, or they might try going somewhere new. This allows patrons who could not afford going to a museum the opportunity to go. Patrons can reserve museum passes up to two months in advance of using them. Also, patrons can make the reservations for the pass online, and have access to the online calendar.After visiting a museum, a family might be interested in learning about what they saw at the museum and come back to the library to continue to expand their horizons.(30)
Public libraries still struggle with censorship, and they are trying to combat this problem, with Banned Book Week, click here to explore.