2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits

Join the Twitter discussion @alamw using the hashtags #libraries4refugees #projectwelcome #withrefugees

Project Welcome: Refugee Resettlement Agencies & Libraries (Symposium on the Future of Libraries)
Saturday, February 10, 10:30-11:30 am.  Location: Colorado Convention Center, Rm 404 [flyer] [media]

Project Welcome (https://publish.illinois.edu/projectwelcome/) is an IMLS funded project exploring how libraries address the information needs of refugees and asylum seekers in order to support and empower them in their resettlement and integration process. This session will bring together library workers and staff from refugee resettlement agencies to inform the library services continuum that is in development. An optional working group will follow the formal session, offering attendees time to talk about next steps and involvement in the project. This planning grant is a partnership with the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs and ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services, and the International Relations Office, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  See draft Project Welcome Guide and tip sheet for review.

Clara M. Chu, Director and Mortenson Center Distinguished Professor
Mortenson Center for International Library Programs, University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign


  • Nicanor Diaz, Immigrant Services Manager, Denver Public Library
  • Joseph Wismann Horther, Integration Partnerships Supervisor, Colorado Refugee Services Program
  • Julie Robinson, Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment (RISE) Outreach Manager, Kansas City Public Library
  • George Serwenda, Case Manager, African Community Center in Denver
  • Jamie Torres, Director, Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs, City of Denver

Other Sessions

The New Immigrant Experience: Providing a Platform for Refugee and Asylum Seekers’ Voices to be Heard
Saturday, February 10, 9:00-9:50 am.  Location: Colorado Convention Center, Exhibit Hall

Helen Thorpe of The Newcomers, along with a paraprofessional from Denver’s South High School and a member of the Colorado African Organization, will discuss refugee crises around the globe, and how the US is at a political crossroads around questions of immigration, multiculturalism, and America’s role on the global stage. Thorpe’s The Newcomers follows the lives of twenty-two immigrant teenagers, many of them refugees, throughout the course of the 2015-16 school year as they land at South High School, in an English Language Acquisition class created specifically for them. Speaking no English, unfamiliar with American culture, their stories are poignant and remarkable as they find deep fulfillment in doing their work, while still facing the enormous challenge of adapting.

Services to Refugees, Immigrants, and Displaced Persons Across ALA
Sunday, February 11, 10:30-11:30 am.  Location: Colorado Convention Center, Rm 106

The Services to Refugees, Immigrants, and Displaced Persons sub-committee is a new entity of the ODLOS Advisory Committee. Its timely creation in the summer of 2017 was in direct response to the need to centralize efforts across the association to support the refugee, immigrant, and displaced persons population. Join association members in this informal discussion group to learn about the sub-committee’s work, swap stories, and share resources pertinent to serving this community.