Library uses Scripps Howard Foundation grant to reach out to the ESOL community

In 2020, the Scripps Howard Foundation granted $20,500 to the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library through its community giving fund focused on childhood literacy programs for children living in poverty.

The Library is using the grant money to increase its engagement with non-English-speaking communities in four neighborhoods: Price Hill, Forest Park, North Central, and West End. Through in-branch and outreach activities, it aims to increase the usage of library services in these communities.

“We’d like the non-English-speaking parents we connect with to see us as a resource,” said Staci Dennison, the Thomas W. Jones Executive Director of The Library Foundation. "In turn, we hope this additional interaction benefits the Library’s early literacy efforts. We want to forge connections that last long beyond the end of the grant.”

The Library purchased more than 2,300 Spanish-language and bilingual books to give to kids 18 and younger at outreach events to help them build an at-home library of their own. To increase awareness of library resources to non-English speaking customers, materials, such as Take & Make activity directions, flyers, and library card applications, are now available in Spanish.

A cornerstone of family engagement is library partnerships with community organizations and agencies. The Forest Park Branch recently visited neighboring elementary schools to meet parents, caregivers, and teachers. Parents greatly appreciated having books for all ages and levels while children enjoyed choosing books for themselves and their siblings. Teachers and translators attending the event learned ways to encourage families to visit the Library and which books and resources might be the best fit for their children.

“The Scripps Howard Foundation is committed to giving children the essential literacy tools they need to be successful in school and beyond,” said Liz Carter, president, and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation. “We are pleased to see the Library do this twofold, by purchasing books to put in the hands of children who need them and by creating promotional materials to help the ESOL community take advantage of all the Library has to offer.”

Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library has been cultivating curiosity from the moment we first opened our doors in 1853. Since then, we have evolved into one of the biggest and busiest libraries in the country: supporting minds of all kinds who seek to unlock their full potential. With 41 neighborhood branches, a vast range of programming, and an ever-growing collection of virtual resources, we're proud to be a place where everyone can learn without limits. To learn more, visit or call 513-369-6900.  
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