Transparent Language Blog

How Understanding Community Needs Led to 6x Growth Posted by on Jan 31, 2022 in For Libraries, Library Success Stories

Promoting library resources can sometimes feel like shouting to the void.

But as a librarian, you know your community better than anyone. Give that void a face.

Postville Public Library in Iowa did exactly that and achieved 6x growth in their users in 2021. In fact, Postville Public Library had the highest monthly usage among all libraries in Iowa in December!

That’s a big deal for a small town library like Postville, which has a population of only about 2,500 people. The Postville librarians know their small community well, such as the Kosher meat packing plant that brings in workers from many different backgrounds, including many Somali immigrants.

Postville Public Library Iowa Transparent Language Online

What better resource for that community than the English language courses in Transparent Language Online for Libraries?

To get them started, the library brought in a Somali speaker to train them on the technology in their own language. That effort proved so successful the library wanted to replicate it on a larger scale, so they reached out to us and requested we translate our Transparent Language Online User Guide into Somali.

It’s a joy for us to help libraries bring language learning to their diverse communities, so of course we said yes! (Or should we say “haa!”)

Postville Public Library Director, Cindy Berns, expressed how much these materials and this resource means to the community:

“Our Somali patrons are a valued part of our community. They’re very eager to learn and improve their English, so I am thrilled to have a service like Transparent Language Online to offer them. Being able to teach them how to use the platform and provide help materials in their native language has made a huge difference in getting them off to a good start!”

The results are staggering: the library has seen a 6x increase in the number of learners contributing to a 20x increase in total learning hours!

A fitting result for the library in a town whose motto is “Hometown to the World.” 😉

Library subscribers, if you’re looking for inspiration and materials to help promote Transparent Language Online to your community, check out the Library Marketing Kit!

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About the Author: meaghan

Meaghan is the Marketing Communications Manager at Transparent Language. She speaks enough French and Spanish to survive, and remembers enough Hausa to say "Hello my name is Meaghan, I'm studying Hausa." (But sadly that's it).

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