UA Partners With Pima County Public Library to Welcome Non-English Speakers to the Library

Alexis Blue
Dec. 12, 2013

A group of students in the University of Arizona's Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology has partnered with the Pima County Public Library to produce a series of videos introducing non-English speakers to local library services.

The "Welcome to the Library" project – funded by a grant from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records – is intended to support Tucson's growing community of refugees and immigrants from Iraq, Bhutan, Somalia, Mexico, Central America and South America.

The videos are produced in five languages – Spanish, Maay Maay, Nepalese, Somali and Arabic – and cover information from how to get a library card to how to access computer and English language classes at the library.

"The overarching goal is to get people using library services. They provide so many great services – like English classes, homework help classes – all these resources that are more than just books. It also helps people integrate into Tucson," said Ashley Stinnett, a UA anthropology graduate student.

Stinnett oversaw five undergraduate interns in the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, who created the videos with help from library staff and local refugee organizations.

A public screening of the videos will take place at the Loft Cinema at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Arizona state Rep. Rosanna Gabaldón is expected to attend, along with city and county officials. Melinda Cervantes, executive director of the Pima County Public Library, will speak.

The videos can be checked out at any library branch or viewed on a library public computer. They also are available at a number of local refugee organizations and are accessible online.

"This is about letting people know that these services are available," Stinnett said, "and also giving the library tools to help them communicate with people who come in speaking different languages."

Contact: Ashley Stinnett at 520-621-2585 or

Photo: Back row, from left: Adbirahman Abdi (Horizon's for Refugee Families, Maay Maay translator); Ashley Stinnett (Ph.D. candidate, School of Anthropology); Kenneth Kokroko (undergraduate anthropology honors student, BARA intern); Abdi Abdi  (Horizon's for Refugee Families, executive director); Dipen Chhetri (Horizon's for Refugee Families, Nepalese translator); Taylor Genovese (undergraduate anthropology honors student, BARA intern). Front row, from left: Mursal Ali (Horizon's for Refugee Families, Somali translator); Kellan Smith (undergraduate anthropology honors student, BARA intern).


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