Take advantage of classes

Published 9:48 pm Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Hampton Roads is rapidly becoming more diverse than ever before, and many people who are living here do not have English as their first language.

That’s what makes a grant the Suffolk Public Library recently received to offer classes in English as a second language so important.

The $10,000 American Dream Literacy Initiative grant from the American Library Association and Dollar General Literacy Foundation will support the ESL classes that will be offered this summer to adults who want to improve their English skills.

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The classes will be offered weekly beginning June 6 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the library’s North Suffolk location, 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Road. Volunteers from the Suffolk Literacy Council will be available after each class for individual assistance.

A conversation group will also be held six times throughout the summer for English language learners to enjoy coffee and conversation while improving their skills with other learners.

Classes and groups such as these are very important to improving the diversity of our community. With a high population, significant military presence and growing investment from international companies, the Hampton Roads area is increasing in the number of people who speak English as a second language. People who are in the process of learning English should feel welcomed and should have every opportunity possible to learn.

We appreciate the Suffolk Public Library for going through this competitive, peer-reviewed application process and getting chosen from among 85 public libraries for the 20 available grants.

The American Library Association and Dollar General Literacy Foundation are also to be commended for offering these grants to expand services for adult English language learners. Various libraries are augmenting their print and digital collections for readers whose first language is not English, increasing computer access and training, providing job training, holding citizenship classes and increasing the visibility of services for immigrant populations.

All of these things are important for folks who are learning English so that they can navigate the world better and advance in their careers.

Registration for the classes is not required, and library membership is not required for participation. More information on the classes can be found online at suffolkpubliclibrary.com/ESL.