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Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library now offering materials in 5 languages

an open book with arabic writing
Arabic, along with French, Chinese, Spanish and Nepali, is one of the new language materials being offered.

The Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library are using a new webpage to tackle language barriers and provide resources as part of its commitment to welcome refugees.

The New Americanswebpage allows for families to access library materials and resources in five languages. Resources will be available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Nepali and Spanish.

David Siders is the library's civic engagement coordinator. He says the webpage will act as a "one-stop resource" for refugees to access.

"While you explore by category, there's a 'Learn English' button to hit that brings everything together in one spot," Siders said. "So, example: We have upcoming ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) conversation groups at our Clifton branch, Sharonville branch, and a virtual event. So as we're kind of moving along in the pandemic, we are starting to bring more in-person events."

Families will be able to browse materials including books, audiobooks, movies, and music. Voting information will also be provided as upcoming election dates near.

"We've worked with Cincinnati Compass to help demystify the voter registration experience and to help encourage people to register to vote and actually actively vote," Siders said.

A jobs and careers section will also help refugees find work within the community, or help them apply.

"We have an adult learning center that has virtual classes and now moving to some in-person classes on helping with resumes, helping with virtual interviews, helping prepare for the onboarding process when a person does acquire a job," Siders said.

Virtual storytimes are available on the New Americans webpages in Arabic, Spanish, and French, to help families read together either at home or on the go. There's also a calendar of the library’s free upcoming ESOL classes.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.