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USCIS Teams With Institute of Museum and Library Services to Better Serve Immigrants

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Posted by Alejandro Mayorkas, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Did you know that there are nearly 9,000 public libraries in the United States? As one of our nation’s most important community-based institutions, libraries offer a welcoming space for newcomers, help patrons navigate information, and often provide immigrants with educational opportunities that focus on citizenship.

Recent research published by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) found that more than 55 percent of people who immigrated to the United States within the last 15 years use the public library at least once a week. IMLS, as the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums, plays a critical role in helping libraries support civic and community engagement efforts.

Recognizing how the reach of these vital institutions can help us continually enhance our engagement efforts, USCIS recently entered into a partnership with IMLS to provide immigration and citizenship information at public libraries.

To formalize the agreement, on June 29 I joined IMLS Director Susan Hildreth at this year’s American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition in Chicago to sign a memorandum of understanding between our two agencies.

IMLS Director Susan Hildreth and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas

IMLS Director Susan Hildreth and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas

The agreement calls for us to provide immigration and naturalization information to libraries and training opportunities for local librarians. We also plan to hold joint events to promote citizenship and, where possible, highlight promising citizenship education practices that can be applied at other libraries.

With these efforts in place, libraries of all sizes across the country will have access to accurate and helpful information to better assist their immigrant patrons.

To find a public library in your area, visit