Never has a slogan been truer than for Nashville Public Library (NPL), where “books are only half the story.” This library goes beyond books, and beyond the walls that house them, with its extensive adult literacy program that supports immigrants and resettled refugees throughout the community.
In a city as linguistically diverse as Nashville, where over 140 languages are spoken, there is a great need for resources and services for both foreign language and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. That’s why NPL uses Transparent Language Online, leveraging the program in extraordinary ways to support the community’s needs.
While the library is not a direct provider of formal language courses, NPL does partner with local organizations through numerous outreach programs. The library’s mobile computer lab makes the rounds through Nashville, providing access to Transparent Language Online on its 10 laptops. Library staff help bring the lab to ESL classes throughout the community that would otherwise not have access to technology in their classrooms.
One major success story involves a local charter school where about 90 percent of students are the children of immigrants. At the end of the school day, Nashville Public Library brings their mobile lab to the school, where parents can benefit from 90 minutes of language training on Transparent Language Online, while their students enjoy afterschool enrichment programs.
Nashville Public Library hopes this outreach will encourage community members to come to the library and benefit from the other resources available to them. The library frequently provides “field trips”—which are tours of the library— to the immigrant population to acquaint them with the different sections and services. The library also provides on-site civics classes and study materials for the U.S. citizenship test, in addition to the ESL materials in Transparent Language Online. For those who can’t make it to the library easily, there’s a full suite of services available online through NPL’s Pathway for New Americans program.
Megan Godbey, the Adult Literacy Coordinator at NPL, explains that the library selected Transparent Language Online because of the language diversity, interactive learning activities (which included multiple ways to practice pronunciation), and support on tablets and mobile devices. She also notes that instructors within the community have been “extremely impressed” with the system.
Here at Transparent Language, we are the ones who are impressed and are completely thrilled when our library partners leverage our resources to serve the needs of their community. Keep up the great work, Nashville!
If you live, work, or go to school in Nashville—lucky you! Be sure to stop by your local library branch (there’s 20 of them in the city) and sign up for your free Transparent Language Online account. Not in Nashville? We partner with hundreds of libraries throughout the country, so give your local librarian a call and let them know you’re interested in a Transparent Language Online account!