The city of Seattle's New Citizen Campaignseeks to help tens of thousands of Seattle's legal permanent residents become U.S. citizens. From noon to 6 p.m. today at McCaw Hall, city departments and community partners will assist hundreds of immigrants with legal services and information.

The Seattle Public Library has a wide array of ongoing classes, services and resources for immigrants and refugee families across the city. As a trusted community resource, the Library helps people discover new opportunities, strengthen their knowledge, realize their dreams and transform their lives. Librarians are integral community members who work hard to connect newcomers to important community resources.

The Library is the only institution providing equal access to the digital resources vital for today's world. We offer ESL classes for English language learners and citizenship classes for those preparing for naturalization. Parents can bring their children to story times in Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Somali. The Library also offers targeted programs, such as digital literacy classes to help immigrant parents better engage with their children's education.

The following is a list of several programs, services, materials and resources that may be of interest to immigrant and refugee families in Seattle:

In 2016, the Library held 423 ESL (English as a Second Language) class sessions, 168 Adult Education Tutoring sessions, 148 Talk Time sessions and 412 citizenship class sessions. For times and dates of programs and classes in 2017, please visit our calendar of events.

World Language Story Times for kids
Story times are led by librarians who build early literacy skills through stories, songs and plays. Story times for 2017 are available in the following languages at the Library branches listed:

  • 中文 / Chinese (Mandarin): Beacon Hill, International District/Chinatown, Lake City and University branches
  • Español / Spanish: Central Library and the Beacon Hill, Columbia, Greenwood, Lake City, Northgate and South Park branches
  • Soomaali / Somali: High Point, Lake City, NewHolly and Rainier Beach branches
  • Tiếng Việt / Vietnamese: Columbia and Delridge branches

Early literacy programs for young children and their parents
In addition to the Library's World Language Story Times, the Library also offers 'Kaleidoscope Play and Learns' in English, Spanish and Mandarin. These events provide a fun and age-appropriate learning environment for children ages 5 and under.

In 2016, the Library piloted Spanish language early literacy parties, or 'Fiestas de Alfabetización,' at our South Park Branch and will be expanding the program to one other location in 2017.

ESL classes for parents
ESL classes help participants with speaking, listening, vocabulary, reading and writing skills. The Library now offers these classes in four Title 1 elementary schools - Dunlap, Kimball, Martin Luther King Jr. and Northgate elementary schools. The Library moved this service into schools to minimize child care and transportation barriers for immigrant parents.

Talk Time conversation group
ESL conversation groups provide opportunities to practice speaking English and to connect community members. Topics include everything from education and social issues to food, money, family and weather. This program is for beginning- to advanced-level learners.

Citizenship classes
The Library's citizenship classes help prepare participants to take the U.S. Citizenship Test, which includes learning United States history and civics. These classes include reading and writing practice and a review of questions covered on the N-400 Application for Naturalization. These classes are offered in partnership with Asian Counseling and Referral Service.

Adult Education Tutoring
The Adult Education Tutoring program provides one-on-one, walk-in tutoring that helps participants achieve a number of goals, specific to the individual, including: college and job readiness, language skills, preparation for citizenship interviews and exam preparation. Tutors help learners develop skills they need to be successful as workers, family members and citizens.

Tax Help
The Library is partnering with United Way of King County and the AARP to offer free tax preparation service January through mid-April at 12 Library locations. The Library will provide support for multiple languages. Please call 206-386-4636 for the language support schedule.


Books, films, music and more available for all ages in multiple languages
The Library actively collects materials in the Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese, Somali and Amharic languages, selectively housed at 12 different Library locations across the city, as well as a variety of online resources in non-English languages.

Online citizenship, ESL and literacy resources
The Library has online resources in many languages to help patrons learn and improve their English language skills, study for the citizenship test, learn about immigrants' rights and more. Patrons can use these resources from home or on a Library computer. A free Library card and PIN may be needed to use some of these resources.

Wi-Fi Hotspots
Borrow mobile internet access from the Library! The Library lends 575 devices to the public. Library staff distribute another 200 for longer‐term borrowing to low-income housing communities, a Goodwill training and education center, tent cities and shelters. This popular program was awarded additional funding from the city's youth participatory budgeting initiative for 50 more devices in 2017. Instructions for using the hotspots are in multiple languages.

Spanish Facebook page
Búscanos en Facebook at

More information about our offerings can be found in multiple languages on our website:

አማርኛ / Amharic:
中文 / Chinese (Mandarin):
Español / Spanish:
Русский / Russian:
Soomaali / Somali:
Tiếng Việt / Vietnamese:

Please visit our calendar of events for dates and times of the Library's programs and classes.