Bridging Language and Cultural Barriers with Your Public Library

By Sara Proaño,
Community Engagement Manager for KDL

Language services are a central element in fostering cross-cultural and multilingual communication among the different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds represented in Kent County. Kent District Library is proud to offer a variety of free tools for learning, interpreting and translating multiple languages. We encourage you to use them in combination with trained language services professionals.

Language Learning Tools
Learning or perfecting a new language requires intentionality. KDL offers excellent tools to explore not only vocabulary, but also cultural nuances that often accompany linguistic terminology or idiomatic expressions. Take a look at databases such as Mango Languages, Little Pim, CultureGrams or Rosetta Stone. You can download these applications for free on your cell phone, tablet, iPad or computer, and use them whenever it is convenient for you. For more information, visit

Interpretation Tools
KDL lends out Interpretation Equipment (radio or digital) for users and organizations with a KDL library card. This equipment is intended for use by a trained interpreter capable of performing simultaneous interpretation. To request this equipment, please call 616.784.2007 or send a message to

Translation Tools
KDL offers a scanning station for printed documents using the TBS simple scanning technology. The system offers text-to-text and audio translation for more than 100 languages, with a multilingual touchscreen interface in 25 languages. This type of tool cannot be used to replace a professional translator, especially when it comes to legal binding documents or communications related to your health, but it is useful for informational materials or as a starting place for a translation.

Multilingual Collection
Did you know that your public library not only has materials in multiple languages but also books translated into English that were originally published in other languages? Explore and lose yourself in a universe of resources for you and your entire family. To browse our collection in Spanish visit