The Aberdeen Public Library gets a $35K grant from the Knight Foundation in its “Knight Cities Challenge” to create “The A Place,” a facility “opening a pathway to more opportunity and civic engagement by creating a one-stop information and assistance center for immigrants and New Americans.”
“The A Place is exactly the kind of community center for all residents to come to get basic needs and information met,” said Naomi Ludeman Smith, member of the Aberdeen Area Diversity Coalition. “Especially our new immigrant community.”
The service provided by the library is nothing new, [library director Shirley] Arment said in January. There isn’t room at the current library for the resource, but the new library, with all of its space on one open floor, will be able to set aside the square footage [Katherine Grandstrand, “$35K Grant Goes to Newcomer Resource Center,” Aberdeen American News, 2017.06.12].
Aberdeen’s application to include “The A Place” in our new library building was one of 33 successful applications out of more than 4,500 submitted. The Knight Cities Challenge is funding $5 million worth projects this year.
The Diversity Coalition is trying to bring another project to the library to make new Americans feel more at home… and to make us feel more at home with our new neighbors:
After it opens, the Diversity Coalition hopes to bring a traveling exhibit called “Green Card Voices” to the library, as discussed at its June 1 meeting. The exhibit features stories of legal permanent residents in the U.S.
“It’s exactly the thing that the Aberdeen community is asking for: ‘Please, can you educate us about who our new immigrant neighbors are?’” Ludeman Smith said [Grandstrand, 2017.06.12].
Based in Minneapolis, Green Card Voices records immigrants’ stories—”whether they’re naturalized citizens, permanent residents, refugees and asylees, or persons on temporary visas—and share[s] them with as large of an audience as we can reach.” Green Card Voices showed at St. Olaf in Northfield, Minnesota, this spring. The organization compiles videos of immigrants talking about their new American experience and has compiled books of immigrant stories from high schools in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Fargo:
The A Place and Green Card Voices both are good ways for our public library to carry out its mission to knit our community together with knowledge.