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Feb 25, 2013 12:56 PM by Tania Shofron

Local libraries offer free English classes

TUCSON - Pima County public libraries receive a $15,000 grant to teach local adults English.

"The American Dream Starts @ Your Library" grant is designed to increase literacy services to adult English language learners.

Lupita Aguilar didn't speak any English when she came to Arizona 12 years ago. She began taking advantage of the free English classes offered at Quincie Douglas Library, which was near her home. In just four years she was in the advanced class.

"The English classes at the library changed my life," says Aguilar who couldn't secure a professional job before she spoke English.

Recently securing a full-time job, Aguilar says, "As immigrants, we are fighting to do our very best to be part of this amazing country. I am so proud of everything I've learned. A full-time job is a dream come true {and the library classes} opened the door for me!"

Librarian Dawn Gardner says that the library has followed the community's lead and made literacy services a priority over the past five years. "All of our libraries have great materials like picture dictionaries, newspapers for adult learners, audio books for learning English, and language learning software. The American Dream grant helps to make this possible."

Ten libraries currently host daytime and evening English language classes for all levels:

1. Himmel Park Library, 1035 N. Treat Ave. 594-5305
2. Martha Cooper Library, 1377 N. Catalina Ave. 594-5315 3. Mission Library, 3770 S. Mission Rd. 594-5325
4. Murphy-Wilmot Library, 530 N. Wilmot Rd. 594-5420
5. Nanini Library, 7300 N. Shannon Rd. 594-5365
6. Quincie Douglas Library, 1585 E. 36th St. 594-5335
7. Santa Rosa Library, 1075 S. 10th Ave. 594-5260
8. Valencia Library, 202 W. Valencia Rd. 594-5390
9. Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Library, 7800 N. Schisler Dr. 594-5200
10. Woods Memorial Library, 3455 N. First Ave. 594-5445

The grant was founded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the American Library Association to meet the growing demand for English language literacy services.

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