Event - May 2019

Harnessing NYC’s Public Libraries to Support Immigrants

On June 13th, the Center for an Urban Future held a policy forum at the Flushing branch of Queens Public Library about how to better support libraries' work with immigrants.

Tags: libraries immigrants economic opportunity

“Harnessing NYC’s Public Libraries to Support Immigrants”
A Center for an Urban Future (CUF) Policy Symposium

Thursday, June 13, 2019
8:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

@  Flushing Library
41-17 Main Street, Lower Level

New York City's branch libraries have long been one of the most trusted institutions for immigrants, providing a safe space for the newest New Yorkers to access resources and services on everything from citizenship and ESOL to entrepreneurship. But in today’s environment, when immigrants face unprecedented fear and intimidation, can the city’s libraries take on an even more important role in supporting, protecting, and reaching foreign-born New Yorkers?

This forum examined how the city's libraries can strengthen and expand their already-significant immigrant-focused initiatives and explore whether libraries are well-positioned to play a stepped-up role in other critical areas, such as ensuring an accurate Census count. The event also discussed how city policymakers can better harness and support the important work New York’s libraries are doing with immigrants and refugees.

The forum featured a panel discussion and a response from the city's three library systems, followed by ideas from the audience. Speakers included:

Bitta Mostofi, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs  
Natalia Aristizabal, Organizing Director, Make the Road New York
Steve Choi, Executive Director, NY Immigration Coalition
Yanki Tshering, Executive Director, Business Center for New Americans

Dennis M. Walcott, President & CEO, Queens Public Library
Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, Manager, Outreach Services, New York Public Library
Tara Lannen-Stanton, Director of Adult Learning, Queens Public Library
Eva Raison, Director of Outreach Services, Brooklyn Public Library


8:30       Registration + Breakfast
9:00       Welcome + Introductory Remarks
9:10       Panel Discussion + Audience Q&A
10:45     Closing 

This symposium was made possible thanks to generous support from the Charles H. Revson Foundation. The Center for an Urban Future is also grateful for general operating support from The Clark Foundation, the Bernard F. and Alva B. Gimbel Foundation. 

Photo Credit: Brett Jordan/Unsplash