This week I got to visit the Framingham Public Library to see their Newcomer & Neighbors Center. The city has seen a large growth in their immigrant populations, and currently about 20% of the city’s residents are foreign born. Because the local library saw a need in these new communities, and because it wanted to continue its outreach program to the entire community, a Newcomers & Neighbors Center was established. This center is open for a few hours a day, but during these hours it helps people new to the city, the state, or the country in things like finding housing, schools, jobs, health care, and places to meet other people. Part of the programs success has been their ability to find volunteers that come from the same communities they are helping.

While trying to welcome newcomers to the community, the public library currently prints out all of their material in three languages (English, Spanish and Portuguese). Along with the Newcomers & Neighbors Center, the library also has one of the larges literacy centers in the area, and teaches a number of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes.

You can read a bit more about Framingham here.