Plaza Voices: 2014 Highlights

Expansion of Branch Locations in Fall 2014

In Fall 2014, DPL incorporated immigrant services at two new locations in metro Denver: Byers Branch Library in the Santa Fe Art District and Athmar Park Branch Library in Southwest Denver. New communities were able to gain access to information, and tap on existing community resources and support at this critical time of their lives.

Workshops on SB251 – Driver’s License and IDs

Since last summer, we have seen an increase in the number of people coming to the library to make appointments with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to receive driver’s licenses under Senate Bill 13-251, and also to apply for the identification cards available through the Mexican Consulate, the Matrícula Consular. Services to New Immigrants and the MBMF programs have provided constant updates from immigration attorneys in regular workshops throughout the fall program cycle. Many Plaza participants took advantage of these services to clarify questions and concerns with professionals and continue to attend Plaza sessions each week to prepare not only for a Driver’s License exam but also leverage other library resources to continue the momentum towards greater self sufficiency in our country.

Denver Welcome Week and Stories of Integration – October 2014

How does one adjust to a place where both the language and culture are completely foreign? “Stories of Integration” was a photographic storytelling experience on view at the Ross-Barnum Branch Library until the end of October and the Athmar Park Branch Library until November to showcase what unique perspectives and barriers immigrant and refugee populations face in our country. In collaboration with the Colorado Providers for Integration Network and the Office of Community Support with the City and County of Denver, our Plaza participants took part in this unique storytelling exhibition. The photos displayed 37 individuals who have come to Denver from 26 different countries--their unique challenges and ultimate triumphs in establishing a place they can call home. By understanding and listening to these stories in a panel discussion, Plaza participants left feeling more included and welcomed to the library and in Denver.

Spring 2015

With many changes in the current political landscape, it is more important than ever that the vulnerable populations we work with continue to receive the quality, accurate, and trusted information we all need to live safe and healthy lives. With fraud expected to increase and exploitation of immigrant and refugee populations trending higher in the U.S., the library has a unique opportunity to develop trust and relationships with our new communities. With new branches providing Services to New Immigrants, DPL is setting a standard for the type of service that can be provided by libraries across our nation.

Plazas are a dedicated space for migrants from all over the world to connect with people, information, and resources, building Denver’s successful global community. This program engages newcomers of all ages and backgrounds with free opportunities and specialized support as they gain second-language conversation skills, prepare for citizenship, create new networks in business, and exchange perspectives across the immigrant experience.

To find a Plaza program near you, please see our events calendar.

Written by Amanda R. on January 7, 2015

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