The Resources at Your Library

The library is a public service for the community, but many immigrant families may not know that library resources are available to them. his tip sheet provides an overview of library basics.

The library is a public service for the community, but many immigrant families may not know that library resources are available to them.

This tip sheet provides an overview of library basics, and is also available as a PDF handout in English or Spanish.

For ideas on reaching out to Latino families at the library, see our video clip with Pat Mora below and our Librarian Resource Section!

Getting Started

The LibraryThe LibrarianLibrary Cards

The library is a public service for the community. Visitors can borrow books and other items for free from the library. Many libraries also have computers for public use.

The librarian is a person who works at the library. The librarian can help you find materials and answer questions.

A library card is a small card used to check out materials. This means you can take the materials home for a short time, and then return them to the library.


Who can use the library?

The library resources are available to the general public. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to use the library or sign up for a library card.

Where is the library?

Many towns have their own public library. In big cities, libraries may have many different locations, or branches.

How do I find the library?

You can ask your child's teacher for more information, or look in the telephone book under the Municipal section for "Libraries."

Do libraries have books and materials in other languages?

Yes! Many libraries are now offering materials in different languages, such as Spanish.

How do I get a library card?

To get a free library card, bring in one proof of identification that has your current address, such as a driver's license or phone bill. Many libraries offer library card applications in Spanish.

How do I borrow materials?

After you sign up for a free library card, you can check out, or take home, materials for a few weeks at a time. When you're done with those books, return them to the library, and then check out some more!

What happens if I don't return the materials on time?

If you don't return books and materials on time, you may need to pay a small amount of money, or fine.

What can I find at the library?

The library has many kinds of free resources for children and adults. These resources can help you or your child learn a new language. In addition, many of these resources may also be available in Spanish!

Books for all age groups
Babies, Toddlers, and Children
  • Board books
  • Picture books
  • Chapter books
  • Non-fiction books
  • Young adult books
  • Non-fiction books
  • Reference books
  • Graphic novels
  • Novels/ bestsellers
  • Mysteries/ science fiction
  • Reference/ consumer guides
  • ESL books
Other Reading Resources
Music and Movies
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Audiobooks:
    books on tape or CD
  • E-books: books you can download on the computer
  • Music CDs
  • Children's music
  • DVDs: Movies and
    TV shows
  • Free Internet access
  • Homework help
  • Computer classes
  • Educational games
    for kids
Homework Help
Special Programs for Children
Workshops for Adults
  • Reference materials
  • Telephone or Internet help
  • Computers
  • Tutoring program
  • Story time and puppet shows
  • Summer reading
  • Author visits
  • ESL classes
  • Tax help
  • Parenting classes

Video: Pat Mora on Welcoming Latino Families to the Library

This clip is also available on YouTube.


You are welcome to print copies or republish materials for non-commercial use as long as credit is given to Colorín Colorado and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact

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National Education Association. How Educators Can Advocate for English Language Learners.

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