We are thrilled to announce that HPL has received recognition and accreditation from the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Immigrant Appeals (BIA) which will enable it to expand immigrants’ access to critical information and services in their path to Citizenship. We are the first public library in the nation to receive this accreditation.
The Library’s The American Place (TAP) program has been in the forefront of welcoming new arrivals and facilitating their integration into the broader community since 2000 and is recognized nationally as a best practice. Although the program offers a comprehensive range of services it refers immigrants to area not-for-profit agencies recognized by the Bureau of Immigration Appeals for legal consultation. Now the Library, a long-standing resource to the immigrant community, is certified to offer these services directly. These expanded services are expected to be offered in January 2014.
An estimated 300 immigrants a month come to the Library to seek online access and assistance navigating the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services’ (USCIS) portal. The Library’s standing in the community as a center for immigrant educational services and computer access, along with its proximity to the USCIS Immigration Services field office (located across the street) are contributing factors to the steady flow of immigrants to the Library.
Looking towards the future and the strong possibility that comprehensive immigration reform will be passed, this demand is expected to increase significantly. “As a trusted source of information, as a center for technology and, a primary portal for immigrants – TAP will be more effective and efficient now that the immigrant needs will be met via a one-stop model”, said Homa Naficy, chief adult learning officer and director of The American Place.
For more information on our immigration and citizenship services, visit our website. And make sure you check out The American Place blog for stories on trips they have taken, and Reflections from a Cultural Navigator!
Press on HPL’s accreditation:
Library Journal – Hartford Public Library Nation’s First to Be Certified by Bureau of Immigrant Appeals
ThinkProgress – Booked For Appointments: First Library Gets Certified To Help Immigrants Navigate The Legal System