Opinion

Bellevue Library to host naturalization ceremony | Darcy Brixey | Required Reading

 

Libraries have always been the great equalizers of society. They uphold our freedoms and are a great socioeconomic leveler.

From birth through our golden years, libraries serve us by providing education, entertainment and the tools necessary for success. Savvy library users know there are many aspects of the public library that are relevant to our lives. This is especially true for recent immigrants.

For many of us, our families moved to the United States decades or even centuries ago to follow dreams or start new lives. Often the descendants are spotted diligently using the library’s genealogy collection, looking up old church records and scouring ship passenger lists to follow their ancestors on that passage to a new country. For others, this journey is new, with recent immigrants in the library enjoying English language practice through the Talk Time program or citizenship classes.

The circle completes itself, with the library playing a central role in both of these instances.

It seems only fitting that in partnership with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, candidates will be taking the oath of allegiance when Bellevue Library hosts a naturalization ceremony at 2 pm, Tuesday, July 23 in meeting room 1.

These candidates have studied hard for their citizenship tests often with the obstacle of learning a new language and culture. The library has been an integral part of their learning process. They’ve had library cards, and now as citizens they will take the next step: voter registration cards.

As a public librarian, I’ve witnessed the educational growth of entire families due largely in part to Talk Time, ESL and citizenship classes, free homework tutoring, story times and other library programming. The candidates that come to the library know the value of these resources. They’re charting their own courses now, and the library will always be at the center of their journeys.

 

Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.

 

 

 

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