Transparent Language Blog

Florida Library Teaches ASL Classes with Transparent Language Online Posted by on Jul 8, 2024 in For Libraries, Library Success Stories

You can probably guess the languages our library patrons learn most: English, Spanish, French. But recently… ASL!

Since we added American Sign Language to Transparent Language Online for Libraries, it’s ranked in the top 5 most learned languages (of 130 languages!) nearly every month.

The 60-hour ASL course covers all the basics:

👉 fingerspelling
👉 1,000+ common sign videos
👉 syntax (300+ sentence videos)
👉 Deaf culture

At Seminole County Public Library in Florida, librarian Jennifer Bornholm added something the course doesn’t have: a live teacher!

After interacting with a Deaf classmate in fourth grade, she’d always wanted to learn ASL. So when the new course came to Transparent Language Online, Jennifer decided to finally make it happen. But she didn’t do it alone…

ASL classes at Seminole County Public Library with Transparent Language Online

Jennifer projected Transparent Language Online’s ASL lessons onto the screen so the entire class could practice new signs together.

She led a weekly ASL class for library patrons using the online course!

The class had a ton of interest—it was the most interacted with event on the library’s Facebook page. And it turned out students from all corners of the community, from college students to retirees.

Once a week from May 2023 to February 2024, a group of patrons met at the library for 90 minutes to tackle ASL lessons in Transparent Language Online. Jennifer projected the lessons onto a screen so everyone could work together.

She took cues from her past life as a teacher to enhance the experience beyond just lessons on a screen. In multiple choice exercises, she would call on a specific row of the class to answer each challenge.

When the class reached the end of each unit, she came up with a paired review system to recap what they learned. She crafted ASL sentences based on what they had learned and the class paired up to practice signing to each other. One partner would sign a sentence and the other would guess the meaning. And vice versa.

“I encouraged the students to practice with the Transparent Language Online lessons at home so they could really master and remember it all. But I also really wanted the students to get something they wouldn’t get if they just did the course themselves online at home: the opportunity to practice with other learners. And that turned into a close-knit community who are still in touch months after the course ended, still getting together and practicing ASL.”

And what a community she created!

🎂 When one student’s birthday fell on a class day, her peers surprised her by “singing” the happy birthday song in ASL at the end of class.
🐖 During the unit about food, the class had discussed a local BBQ restaurant—to celebrate the end of class the group went there together for a last hurrah.
📨And to this day students email Jennifer ready looking for more opportunities to get together and practice.

The students are eager to keep learning. As one student, Awilda Caraballo, put it:

“I really enjoyed the class,  learned a lot, and you as our instructor you were excellent. You made it fun at the same time we were learning. It would be nice to offer more classes for those that are interested in continuing to learn.”

Seminole County Library ASL Class certificate

Jennifer made certificates for each student to celebrate the end of the class.

How did Jennifer teach an ASL class without knowing ASL herself? First, never doubt what a librarian is capable of! But second, lots and lots of practice. She completed each week’s lessons prior to the class, then used the Learned Vocab refresh feature to review all of the new signs throughout the week so she was extra prepared to lead the class.

If you’re a lucky Seminole County resident, stay tuned to the library’s calendar for Jennifer’s next ASL class, coming this fall!

If not, you can still learn ASL online. Find a library near you that offers Transparent Language Online.

Keep learning a language with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

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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).


  1. Lynn:

    This is great. What a terrific Librarian Jennifer Bornholm is. Librarian’s are the best!

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