Friday, June 22, 2018

14 Ways Libraries Can Help Immigrant Children and Families

The news around immigration to the US is heart breaking right now. If you find yourself wanting to do something, but are not sure what, here are a few suggestions curated mostly from a post in Library Think Tank.

Collection Displays

  • Create a display related to Migration and Refugees to help inform patrons of why people are coming here.
  • Display Central American Literature.
  • Display books connected to epigenetics, showing how trauma can be passed down through subsequent generations.
  • Always display books that include POC kids. When book talking, always talk them up and get them into kids' hands to grow empathy.

Information Displays

  • Provide sanctuary locations and qualifications.
  • Display information on immigration and legal rights/citizenship/etc. Include this information in multiple languages! Print out Know Your Rights cards in multiple languages.
  • Highlight (or start) your collection on ESL Learning Materials, citizenship exam study books, and information on becoming citizens.
  • Curate useful websites for your patrons: Informed Immigrant, Immi, and more. Check out Libraries Serve Refugees for great and local resources! 


  • ‘I’m a Migrant, Ask Me Anything’ Program
  • Invite authors to speak, like Reyna Grande (The Distance Between Us) and Luis Alberto Urrea (The Devil's Highway: A True Story). Offer programs in both English and Spanish!
  • Invite an immigration lawyer or a local nonprofit immigration service to give a talk.
  • Movie screenings about immigrants like El Norte
  • Host a program where your patrons can become pen pals with an immigrant
  • Currently, there's The Comfort Campaign going on right now which is open to anyone (ends July 4th). They're asking for letters of welcome and comfort, artwork and/or a teddy bear to be sent to a nonprofit which will send it out around the US to their 27 different locations. Might make a great and easy program.


On a Personal Level, If You Want to Help Out, You Can:



Inform Yourself

Make Phone Calls

  • DOJ Comment Line: (202)353-1555
  • Chief of Staff, John Kelly - 202-456-1414
  • Attorney General, Jeff Sessions - 202-353-1555
  • DHS Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen - 202-282-8495
  • Acting ICE Director, Thomas Homan - 1-866-DHS-2-ICE
  • HHS Secretary, Alex Azar - 202-690-7000
  • Acting Assistant ACF Secretary, Steven Wagner - 1-877-696-6775​
  • ORR Director, Scott Lloyd -202.401.9246

Do you have any additional suggestions? Please let us know in the comments!

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