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updated: 1/19/2013 8:57 AM

Grant funds citizenship resources at Schaumburg library district

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By Susan Miura

The American Dream. For some, it means a better life for their children; one that includes an education and potential for a bright future. For others, it means food in their bellies, clean water, the absence of oppression. A job. And for many, it represents freedoms they've never experienced in their native countries.

At the Schaumburg Township District Library, we help make that dream a reality, but as with many worthwhile efforts, money plays a key role. For this reason, the library is happy to again be a recipient of a $15,000 grant from the American Library Association for the "American Dream Starts @ Your Library" literacy initiative. The money will be used to purchase citizenship preparation materials to help even more immigrants legally attain U.S. citizenship.

"Our library is honored to have received the American Dream grant," said Pat Barch, literacy coordinator for STDL. "It will help us provide Citizenship Classes at our Hoffman Estates and Hanover Park branch libraries, and provide funding for more materials in our English as a Second Language collections at both branches."

As a grant recipient, STDL joins a special, nationally recognized community of nearly 150 libraries. In order to receive the grant, the library submitted a proposal that reflected its mission to serve a culturally diverse population in which approximately 85 different languages are spoken. Many in our township desire U.S. citizenship, but the path is full of obstacles. The American Dream grant helps smooth that path by providing classes, books and other resources to help people prepare for the citizenship test. Attaining citizenship will become even more challenging in the near future with revisions to the application that may increase its length from 10 pages to 21.

If you or someone you know would like to improve English reading, writing or speaking skills, or would like to attend citizenship preparation classes, contact Pat Barch at (847) 923-3387 or email She will be happy to provide helpful information that will get you moving forward with your citizenship or ESL goals.