Boise Public Library Refugee Services Keep Growing
The Boise Public Library is regarded as one of the best library systems in the country. Every day, around 5,000 people walk through the doors of the main library and its branches. Among those people are many, many refugees.
A very high percentage of our clients have a library card and use the libraries on a regular basis. Besides using the computers, checking out DVD’s and books, many of our clients take advantage of the popular English Corner at the Hillcrest Branch at 4:00PM every Saturday. This is a fun, moderated conversational hour with native English speaking volunteers and English language learners. Also at the Hillcrest branch, the Learning Lab (an intensive one-on-one English tutoring program) started programs there last September. This is significant because the Learning Lab’s first location is not near where many of our clients live, and the Hillcrest branch is very central to our refugee communities.
Other programs that are relevant to our clients are the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program which is offered at the Main Library on 3/18 and 4/1, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. and the Free Legal Clinics at the Main Library on 4/8 from 4:00PM to 6:00PM. The VITA program is staffed with IRS trained volunteers to help people making under $53,000 a year fill out their tax returns. The Free Legal Clinic is held the second Monday every month to anyone who cannot afford legal representation.
For people wanting to know about some of our New Americans, on Thursday, 4/7, the Hillcrest branch will present a program on “Worlds Connect: Hill Tribes of Burma”. This program will feature artists, refugee panelists, Burmese food, music, clothing and a slide show. Boise is the new home for hundreds of refugees from the country also known as Myanmar and this should prove to be a fascinating look into this country’s people and culture. It begins at 6:30 PM.
If you haven’t visited your local library lately, we highly recommend that you do so. You’ll be amazed at the range of services that they offer, in a very comfortable environment. Boise Libraries Rock!
Shannon Davis-Jones, the Volunteer Coordinator of the IRC in Boise, is on the Boise Public Library’s Foundation Board of Directors. The Library has served our refugee clients exceedingly well for many years, and now with Shannon’s involvement, the Library Foundation is developing even more refugee specific programs.