Library Services to Refugees and Immigrant Populations

Thursday, September 19, 2019
2:30-3:30 p.m.

The inscription on the Statue of Liberty reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Providing services to refugee and immigrant populations are both challenging and fulfilling, yet a vital part of the everyday services of libraries and librarians. Come listen to our distinguished panelists and discover what makes this population so unique and why providing this service is fulfilling. This presentation is sponsored by the International Library and Cultural Exchange Interest Group.


Marina Valenzuela is a Language Librarian for Arapahoe Libraries who works with diverse language communities in Arapahoe County to connect them with resources for language learning, continuing education, and social support. She is also part of the internal team at Arapahoe Libraries charged with supporting and crafting learning opportunities for staff around equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
Marina knows that it takes organizational patience and a familiar face to build bridges to communities and encourage everyone to take an interest in what the library can be for them. Marina holds a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Denver.


Daniyom Bekele is one of the Reference Librarians who works for the Schlessman Family Branch of the Denver Public Library. At the branch, Daniyom provides services to immigrants and refugees through the Plaza program. Daniyom is also part of DPL’s Services to Immigrants and Refugees (STIR) committee helping diversify programming throughout the system, creating welcoming events/space for customers, and providing assistance in designing culturally sensitive and appropriate staff training.


International Library & Cultural Exchange Reception

Please join us for an international libraries reception Thursday, September 19 at 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. location to be announced. We will be featuring international refreshments from around the world.

Support the ILCE-IG through International Jewelry Purchases

Stop by Nancy Bolt’s booth in the exhibit area. A percent of all sales is donated to the ILCE-IG to be used for grants and programs.

For more information contact:

Nancy Bolt,
Jen Yadav,
Janet Lee,
Barb Thorne,
Jane Mirandette,
Kathy Plath,
Sue Keefer,
Shannon Brennan,



Librarians without Borders: Guatemala

Kathy Plath and Sue Keefer raised funds for book purchases

Kathy Plath and Sue Keefer raised funds for book purchases

Two ILCE-IG members, Kathy Plath and Sue Keefer, recently journeyed to Guatemala with Librarians Without Borders to work in a school library in Quetzaltenango.


Ten years ago, Librarians Without Borders, a group from Canada, partnered with Miguel Angel Asturias Academy to start a library. Each year, the group goes back to take new books, do cataloging, do library programming, and other activities, depending on the school’s needs.


Kathy and Sue were chosen to attend with seven other librarians and library students from Canada and the U.S. Two Canadian librarians went along as LWB leaders.


The group arrived in Guatemala City April 26. The next day, they traveled to a book publisher outside of the city, where they purchased books for the school. Both Kathy and Sue had hosted Facebook fundraisers, and most of the books purchased were due to their efforts.

The group spent four days at the school, which is a K-12 private school. The first two days, after a tour of the school, some began cataloging the purchased books, while others worked on finishing up programming for the students.


Primary students with their masks

The last two days were spent working with the students. Before coming into the library, everyone must take off their shoes (adults, too!). Some of the activities included a using a flannel board with a desert habitat, singing animal songs, and making animal masks (for the younger students) and origami, a word search, and “name the animal” for the older students.

After the programming on the last day, the LWB group was surprised with a special event. Several age groups did traditional dances, and then each LWB librarian was presented with a letter handcrafted by the students. Then, the parents fixed lunch for the librarians.


That afternoon, the younger ones of the LWB group engaged in a soccer match with the students. In the evening, the teachers fixed dinner for the group, followed by dancing.


In the spare time, the group toured Xela and traveled to a glass-blowing factory and a textile co-op. The group also spent an afternoon and evening in Panajachel, located on Lake Atitlan, and a day in La Antigua.


International Library and Cultural Exchange Funds Three Grants

The International Library & Cultural Exchange Interest Group of CAL is pleased to announce that three grants will be awarded to international and cultural projects this year.

ILCE-IG’s grant committee has awarded $1,500 to Mesa County Libraries’ Culture Fest; $1,500 to Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All Foundation; and $100 to the Nederland Community Library District.

The funds granted to the Mesa County Libraries’ Culture Fest will be used for event supplies, marketing and publicity. The Culture Fest is an annual event created to enrich the community and reflect the diversity and cultural heritage of its residents. The event uses visual, performance, culinary and musical art forms as a stimulus for creating cultural awareness and celebrating diversity. The event, co-sponsored by the City of Grand Junction Commission on Arts and Culture and the Friends of Mesa County Libraries, will be held on the first weekend in November.


The funds granted to the Hester J. Hodgdon Libraries for All Foundation will be used for a workshop for staff from government libraries on the Pacific side of Nicaragua as well as staff from all non-government organization libraries. Program events will include a give-and-take table with supplies donated by programmers and attendees; early childhood programming; a craft session; a book cleaning and repair session; and an internet safety session.

The $100 to the Nederland Community Library District will be used for hospitality gifts for Cuban Library peers as part of the 2020 Cuba for Book Lovers Tour, co-sponsored by the Nederland Community Library Foundation and Viva Cuba Tours.

ILCE-IG offers grants to support individual and library partnerships and activities that enhance cultural understanding and to support cultural programming and activities that celebrate ethnic and immigrant cultures in Colorado.

Although two grants for up to $1,500 each were available, the grant committee felt that all three projects merited funding.




Navigator: Colorado Libraries and the World

The 9th issue of Navigator: Colorado Libraries and the World has been published.

Check it out to see the awardees for the ILCE-IG grant, a report from Kathy Plath and Sue Keefer about their travels to Guatemala with Librarians Without Borders, and what to expect during CALCON 2019 including Nancy Bolt’s extraordinary jewelry sales, a save the date for the International reception, and the ILCE-IG sponsored program Library Services to Refugee and Immigrant Populations.

Click link:

or download

Navigator Issue 9, September 2019


The International Library Cultural Exchange Interest Group was very active throughout CALCON 2018 delivering presentations, operating an exhibit, hosting a reception, and recruiting members of the steering committee.

Nancy Bolt & Associates






It wouldn’t be a conference without a visit to Nancy Bolt’s international jewelry exhibit.  A portion of the proceeds of sales goes to the ILCE-IG grants.  This past year, two grants were distributed:  the first to Rita Puig and Jimena Breton for an international librarianship colloquium called “Colorado Librarians Touch the World” held at the Auraria campus in July 2018, and the second to Janet Lee sponsoring workshops and the publishing of an original children’s book with the African Storybook.  The book was translated into two Ethiopian languages as well as three Kenyan languages.

Supporting Nancy and international jewelry sales supports ILCE-IG and future grants.

Library Stories from Two Continents: Africa and Central America







Janet Lee, Dean of the Library at Regis University, and Fulbright Scholar at the University of Aksum, in Axum Ethiopia, spoke on “Is a Fulbright in your Future: Ethiopia Land of Origins.” She described the application process of obtaining a Fulbright, landing in country, and the challenges and accomplishments of living and working in libraries abroad.  See Janet’s PowerPoint here.








Jane Mirandette, of the San Juan de Sur Biblioteca, in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, spoke about the current upheaval in Nicaragua, and the challenges of operating a library in an unstable political climate.  Travel to the country, including hosting volunteer groups, has been impossible making raising needed funds difficult.

Jane discussed safety precautions for international travel and distributed guides and tip sheets on international travel.   See Jane’s PowerPoint here.







ILCE-IG would like to thank our newest steering committee member, Jen Yadav, Douglas County Library District, for helping to organize the session and for serving as facilitator of the session.

Welcome, Jen.

Finally, ILCE-IG hosted its annual International adult beverage reception, where the group welcomed new members and interested parties.


We look forward to seeing everyone again next year at CALCON 2019.


ILCE-IG Activities at CALCON 2018–Update

Join ILCE to celebrate international librarianship at the CALCON 2018 conference at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, Colorado on September 13-15.


Library Stories from Three Continents: Africa, South America, and Europe

The International Libraries and Cultural Exchange Interest Group is sponsoring a program at CALCON 2018. The session will be held on Thursday, September 13 from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Globetrotting librarians will share their experience with libraries in Africa, South America, and Europe (and maybe more.)

Janet Lee spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Axum, Ethiopia working with librarians and library users. Janet will speak on Is a Fulbright in your future? Ethiopia, Land of Origins.


Jane Mirandette, Founder and Director of the San Juan del Sur Biblioteca, will give an update on the political situation in Nicaragua and how the unrest is affecting operations of the library, fundraising activities, and travel both to and within Nicaragua.

Jane photo

ILCE-IG Hosts International Reception at CALCON

The CAL International Library and Cultural Exchange (ILCE) Interest Group will again host an International Reception at CAL. This year the reception will be on Thursday, September, from 6:30 – 8pm. Stop by Nancy Bolt’s suite in the Embassy Suites for soft drinks, an international adult beverage, and an appetizer before you go on to dinner. Stop by Nancy’s booth at CAL for an invitation with the room number on it.

Adult beverage reception 2Adult beverage reception

Buy International Jewelry to Benefit ILCE

 Nancy Bolt will again sell international jewelry and crafts to benefit international librarianship. Your purchase will support a grant for a cooperative project.