Indianapolis has a diverse population of immigrants. More than 95,900 immigrants call Indianapolis home, hailing from regions including Central America, Central Africa, Myanmar (Burma), and Haiti.
After making their way to the Hoosier state, they must adjust to a new culture, government, and educational system. The Library is one of many community organizations providing resources and education to immigrants, helping them adapt to their new homes.
Celebrate the country’s newest citizens at Central Library as they complete the final step toward naturalization – the swearing-in ceremony. Each month, close to 300 new citizens partake in the ceremonies, representing 30+ languages. This special event is hosted by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Organizations that help make this day important are the League of Women Voters, Indy Eleven, and the Immigrant Welcome Center. We are seeking volunteers to greet and direct guests. For more information, see our Volunteering page.
Join us for a citizenship instruction class provided by the Burmese American Community Institute (BACI). Call (317) 331-7537 or email to inquire and register. Search for available dates on our online calendar.
Pathway to Literacy is designed for adult English language learners who have 6 years or less of schooling to prepare them for future studies. The Immigrant Welcome Center hosts classes around the city in partnership with Exodus Refugee, Indy Reads, Washington Township Adult Education, and The Indianapolis Public Library. This is a referral only program starting on August 14, 2023, for 15 weeks. Email Aryan Ibrahim for more information.
Join our English conversation circles to practice and improve your English skills in a comfortable and welcoming place. We discuss topics on American culture, idioms, phrasal verbs, some grammar, and much more! Facilitators are TESOL trained. See the English Conversation Circle schedule.
Reading to children in their home languages shapes their views on literacy and their home cultures. It is also impactful to read to native English speakers in different languages. Come join us for Bilingual Storytimes in Spanish and Ukrainian. Storytimes occur in various branches in the city. See our Bilingual Storytime schedule.
Learn Spanish and meet your neighbors in a casual environment. Spanish Conversation Circles offer a place for Spanish speakers of all levels, beginner to advanced, to practice the language. Hosted at Central Library on select Tuesdays in fall 2023. See the Spanish Conversation Circle schedule.
Enhance your understanding and confidence in financial decisions at our Spanish Financial Literacy classes. Hosted by a Spanish-speaking presenter, these classes will explore common (and less-than-common) financial questions and share advice that you can apply to real life situations. Visit indypl.org/calendar for dates and locations. See the Taller Financiera Educación schedule.
Read popular literature from the Spanish-speaking world and discuss with your neighbors. Some sessions will even feature visits from the authors! Books are made possible with support from The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. See the Club de Lectura en Español schedule.
What does it mean to find a home? For many, home is the place where we feel safe, joyful, and welcomed by the people around us. We use our senses and memories to define what it means, every single day. For Indianapolis immigrants, an understanding of home emerges from dreams, sacrifices, and journeys of miles and years. Join us for a special podcast series to explore the diverse lived experiences of Indy’s immigrant community. Together, we’ll see how, rather than exchanging an old home for a new one, immigrants create a powerful idea: that home is so much more than a place. Listen wherever you get your podcasts. Learn more about podcast episodes and guests.
Throughout the year, as needs and interests in the community arise and partnerships form, we offer additional opportunities. Other programs we will have this year include:
Our Neighbor, Our Partner Immigrant Welcome Center (IWC) is a great resource for the Indianapolis community. The mission of IWC is to be a trusted partner and advocate for all immigrants. They support this work through programming and working with community partners and local leaders to offer programs and services that address the following focus areas: Immigrant and Refugee Support, Naturalization and Legal Assistance, English Language Literacy, and Community Partner Support. Learn more about the services provided by the Immigrant Welcome Center.
World Language Book Collection
The Indianapolis Public Library is proud of the programing and partnerships created to serve our community. We are also proud of growing our world language book collection to reflect our growing immigrant community. We have books, movies, language learning audiobooks and citizenship guides for all ages in:
Mango Language Learning Online
Learn English (and 70+ other languages) with Mango! Mango teaches everyday greetings, helpful phrases, and real-life situations. There are 10+ English as a Second Language (ESL) courses offered. Watch this video tutorial or learn more about Mango.
Recommendations from IndyPL Staff
What does it take to become fluent? How do I get started? Find answers to these and many other language related questions in the apps, books, audiobooks, and videos included in this list of books you can check out with your IndyPL library card.
For questions, partnerships, and programming please contact the Immigrant Outreach Program Specialist, Sakura Fuqua, by email or phone 317-275-4088.