Literacy for English Language Learners

For immigrants seeking to learn English, libraries are often a first point of access to information and services. Recognizing that libraries are uniquely positioned as “safety nets” for English language learners (ELL), ALA has taken on the charge of providing resources—informational to financial—to assist libraries in serving their ELL populations.

  • ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS), in conjunction with ALA’s Office for Research and Statistics and Public Programs Office, offers a toolkit of resources, strategies, and replicable programs for serving English language learners at your library.

  • Funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and administered by ALA ODLOS, the American Dream Starts @ your library program provides one-time grants of $5,000 to $15,000 to public libraries to expand services for adult English Language Learners and their families. With this funding, 185 libraries to date have built ESL collections, increased computer access, and provided GED, citizenship, and literacy classes. American Dream libraries create replicable programs, sustainable community coalitions, and resource lists.

  • S.A.L.S.A., or “Spanish Literature Summary for All,” is a list of Spanish language literature for grades PreK-12 curated by a team of Chicago Public School librarians. The collection includes fictional, informational and poetry books.
  • REFORMA book list: This collection curated by REFORMA members includes recommended books originally in Spanish, bilingual books, and books translated from English. The titles are arranged by grade level (Pre-K, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and High School).