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Home > Programs & Services > Services to New Americans

Services to New Americans


The Central Valley is home to a diverse population of adults and their children from countries and cultures outside the United States. To assist these New Americans with understanding and accessing community resources that can help them adjust to U.S. culture and achieve permanent citizenship, the Fresno County Public Library offers many free services and programs. New Americans are invited to contact their local branch library for further information and assistance or call (559) 600-READ (7323).

Free Library Card: Your free library card can be used at any of the libraries in the San Joaquin Valley Library System from Mariposa to Bakersfield to check out materials, request items, and enjoy other library services. There is no minimum age to get a card, but children under age 14 will need a parent's signature. The application is online in English or in Spanish. Just print out and complete the application, and bring it with one form of photo identification to any branch.

World Languages Collections: Materials are offered in a variety of languages, including Armenian, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The Kerman Branch Library offers the largest Punjabi collection of materials in the United States. Significant adult Spanish Language collections at many branches provide books and videos for learning English, including study aids such as exam preparation books. Novels make up a large part of the Spanish collection and feature Latin American authors in the original Spanish. Adjacent to the Spanish Lanugage collection at the Central Library is Información De La Comunidad (Community Information Shelf), which serves as an information center for services and events of interest to Spanish speakers.

Bilingual Staff: Staff fluent in non-English languages, including Spanish, Russian, Armenian, Punjabi, French, Hindi, Arabic and a variety of Asian dialects are available to assist patrons. Contact your local branch for bilingual assistance.

Learning Languages Materials: Materials written in many languages, including Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian and Spanish are offered to assist customers learning English. These materials include books and audio cassettes.

Spanish Web Site: A Spanish version of the library Web site provides information about books and other materials, services and events of interest to Spanish speakers. Access to Informé, a Spanish language magazine and newspaper database, is also offered. Additional features include links to other useful Spanish Web sites with information on taxes, legal issues, and medical and health issues.

Citizenship Materials: All branches offer resources to assist individuals preparing for citizenship with research to obtain citizenship status. We also provide Voting resources for SpanishChineseHindiJapaneseKhmerKoreanTagalogThai and Vietnamese.

Literacy Services/Aprendovan: Free reading, writing, spelling, and math tutoring to Fresno County adults who cannot read or write English. Trained volunteer tutors provide one-on-one, learner-centered assistance. Families of adults enrolled in the program are also eligible to participate in Families for Literacy, which provides free books to children age 5 and younger. The AprendoVan (Learning Van) is based on the West Side of Fresno County and serves community sites such as Head Start, Home Base Head Start, Migrant Head Start, Day Care facilities in Mendota, Tranquillity, San Joaquin, Five Points, Halfway, Oro Loma, and Cantua Creek. AprendoVan staff are bilingual in English and Spanish. The goal is to assist parents and caregivers in preparing their children age 0 (before birth) up to age 5 for school entry and success.

Network of Care: Provides to consumers, parents, seniors, and people with disabilities and their caregivers a user-friendly site to access health-related services, supports and community resources. Contents are available in English and Spanish.

Parenting Outreach: Children's and Youth Librarians conduct workshops at Women Infants and Children (WIC), Children's Services Network, and Head Start locations to teach parents the importance of reading to their children. Workshops feature demonstrations and offer support materials.

Computer Classes: Free classes offer computer instruction at the introductory level. Topics include Mouse Basics, World Wide Web Basics, Word Processing for Beginners, Basic Web E-Mail, Basic Excel, Typing Skills, Advanced Web E-Mail, Reference USA Business Marketing Tool. Several classes are offered in Spanish and specifically designed for Spanish speakers.

Foreign Language Search Engine: The library web site links to several web search engines, including Google, which offers a translate tool. Spanish and Punjabi versions of Google are also available. Due to the recent implementation of filters in compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), staff assistance is required to use this tool.

Electronic versions of non-English newspapers from around the world are also offered through links on the library Web site. In addition, the library subscribes to Informé, a database of Spanish language magazine and journal articles.

Cultural Events: Special events of interest to different cultures are held throughout the year. Past events have included a Spanish Book Fair, African-American Celebration, Legacy of Cesar Chavez, Origami Workshop, St. Patrick's Day Celebration, and Punjabi Music Program. Program calendars for adults, teens, and children are available on the library Web site.

Radio and Television Programs: Staff participate in regular appearances on local radio and television to share information about library services with various cultural communities. Radio and television partners include Focus on Fresno County, City at Large, Univision's Arribe Valle Central, and KGST 1600 AM La Mexicana.

rev. August 2013