By Sara Proaño, Community Engagement Manager
The way we speak, sign or communicate is deeply rooted in the history of each human group. Our language often serves as a window to a different worldview, another way of thinking and understanding. Multilingual dialog offers unique opportunities to understand each other and empathize with someone else’s story. These types of interactions are crucial for creating a truly inclusive and equitable community.
Cross-cultural communication requires intentionality and effort. It requires allocating time and resources specifically for this purpose. The task, while
daunting, promises to pay off many times over. Shared learning experiences offer the potential to create a common and renewed community identity rooted in understanding and hope. The more we listen and understand each other, the better we become.
The public library is uniquely positioned to help advance this goal by providing the space and tools to acquire skills in a new language, translate written texts or interpret a verbal speech.
Kent District Library has embraced this opportunity and is now making these new services and materials available to all patrons and partner organizations:
• Language learning: Three databases provide plenty of options for ESL students or foreign language learners, including portable apps for easy access and progress tracking.
1. MANGO: With more than 100 languages and 75 English learning curriculums customized by language of origin, this database provides pronunciation audio and cultural context too.
2. LITTLE PIM: Specially designed for the little learners, this database makes learning fun and entertaining for maximum engagement.
3. ROSETTA STONE: This language learning database is ideal for patrons looking for an image-based learning experience.
• TBS Scanner text-to-text translations: Using the best available technology, patrons can now read and understand or write texts in a different language. This service does not replace the use of a professional translator but can help bridge the most basic communication gaps.
• Interpretation equipment: The library offers radio and digital simultaneous interpretation equipment to be used by a professional interpreter hired for this purpose.
*For a list of translation or interpretation services in Kent County, please visit kdl.org/language.