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Immigrant Services

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.

Programs in English

Citizenship Class

Immigrant Welcome Center offers a series of free classes for lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who are eligible to apply for citizenship. This program provides mentorship, lessons, exam practice, mock interviews, and a certificate of completion. Spring Classes are held on Thursdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Feburary 8th to April 4th. For more information, please contact Diana Avila from the Immigrant Welcome Center.

English Conversation Circles

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.

Meet Your Neighbor

The Meet your Neighbor series is an opportunity for patrons in the community and professionals to learn from leaders in the Indianapolis community about the refugees and immigrants moving to Indianapolis such as the Afghan, Haitian, and Congolese populations. Presenters are from Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc, Afghan American Community Center, and Patchwork Indy. Please take a look at our calendar for program dates.

Naturalization Ceremonies

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.

Pathway to Literacy: Literacy Level English Classes

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.

Programas en Español

Chicas Fit Spanish-English Exercise Program

Adults ages 55+ are invited to a bilingual walking program at Central Library with Patty Sanders, the found of Chicas Fit. Arrive 10 minutes early to sign a liability waiver. This program will begin in the Goodrich-Houk room at the Central Library. See the Chicas Fit Exercise Program schedule.

Círculos de Conversación en Español / Spanish Conversation Circles

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 spring 2024. See the Spanish Conversation Circle schedule.

Club de lectura en español / Spanish Book Club

Read popular literature from the Spanish-speaking world and discuss with your neighbors. Some sessions will even feature visits from the authors! The Book Club is hosted by Mujeres Conectadas. Books are made possible with support from The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. See the Club de Lectura en Español schedule.

Cuentos bilingües / Bilingual Storytimes

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.

Multiligual Computer Classes (Swahili, French, and Kinyarwanda)

Receive personal instruction to advance your computer skills. Students will learn how to create and send emails, how to produce content in Microsoft Word, the tools available within Microsoft Excel, and how to design creations in Microsoft Publisher. Classes are held on Saturdays, March 2nd to May 18th at the Michigan Road Branch from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

More Than a Place Podcast: Celebrating Immigrant Stories

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.

Other Programs & Collaborations

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:

  • Mayo Mas Mexicano Festival with Arte Mexicano en Indiana
  • Coming in 2024, Lunar New Year with the Indiana Association of Chinese Americans
  • Spanish Computer Classes
  • Guelaguetza Mosaicos (Oaxacan Festival)

Community Partners

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.

In Our Collection

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:

Títulos en Español / Spanish Titles Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Spanish email newsletter to receive reading recommendations of recently added Spanish materials. View the most recent issue.

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.