‘So excited to see their home languages’

Our summer reading program is open to all kids, wherever they live. And this past summer, we were able to better share it with kids who are new to the United States and still learning English.

For the first time, we translated summer reading guides into multiple languages, including Albanian, Japanese, Polish, and Vietnamese. Librarian Genevieve Grove brought the translated guides and prize beads to the Newcomer English Learner Summer Program at Holmes Elementary to share with students.

“The students were so excited to see their home languages,” says English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher Jennifer Jaros.

And for one student who had never before spoken in class, it was a turning point.

“She came up in front of the class and told us how many beads she had, described each one, and picked her favorite,” Jaros says. “That was the first time she spoke in front of a group.”

New on shelves

For those who speak and read in languages other than English, there’s even more to find at the library, as we continue to expand our world languages collections for adults, teens, and kids.

New to the Main Library’s third floor this year: Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese fiction and nonfiction.

Since last year, our librarians have been analyzing the collections, researching Oak Park demographics, and meeting with local educators to learn which languages they’re teaching and where they see potential growth.