Sorora Found Learning English was a Piece of Cake at CHPL 

Written by Joe Armstrong, Content Specialist, Marketing, Downtown Main Library 

We insist on being a library for all. All minds. All modes. All needs. More than 2.4 million visits are made to the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library each year from customers living in and working in our diverse, vibrant, and unique neighborhoods. Our series “Meet a Library Customer,” shares the stories that minds of all kinds have each day at CHPL. 

English is one of the most common languages in the world, opens a new window and a popular choice for those looking to learn another language. Ever since Sorora moved to the United States in 2013 from Sudan, she wanted to become fluent in English. At the Bond Hill Branch Library, Sorora found one-on-one assistance from Library staff to master English as she graduated from college to pursue a career as a pharmacist. 

Bursting at the Seams with Idioms 

Think that English is simple to learn? Hold your horses!  

The elephant in the room is that English is a tricky language made trickier with idioms. In our neck of the woods, idioms are sayings or phrases that convey a meaning that doesn’t align with its group of words. As Sorora ran into more and more of these confusing terms, she made an Ask a Librarian appointment on our website.  

Sorora chose to meet at the Bond Hill Branch Library and found Melissa Davis ready to help her with an armful of idiom books in hand. Melissa is the Branch Manager at the Bond Hill Branch Library and knows how useful one-on-one attention from library staff can be. 

“Sorora said she needed assistance with her English skills, especially with the trickier aspects like idioms,” Melissa said.  Sorora would read one part of the idiom in a sentence and Melissa would read the other. Then they’d talk about what the idioms mean. Over the next few months, Sorora learned more and more idioms and gained more confidence in her English skills. 

Ask a Librarian!  

CHPL's free, one-on-one Ask a Librarian meetings provide staff help on almost any topic at the Library, from tech assistance, genealogy research, to, in Sorora’s case, figuring out idioms.  

“Melissa helps me with my reading skills and how to speak more fluently,” Sorora says. And, while she’s meeting with Melissa, Sorora's kids can get free homework help at the Library.  

“With an Ask a Librarian appointment, you basically get to borrow a librarian,” Melissa says, adding that she was thrilled to see Sorora’s progress and was excited to help make an impact in her life. Sorora recently graduated from Cincinnati State University and was named a Student of the Year. Now, with her eyes set on becoming a pharmacist, Sorora knows she’ll be ready for the whole nine yards. 

Need help with anything under the sun? Make an Ask a Librarian appointment on our website