The California State Library has awarded the Pasadena Public Library a local Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant of $62,000 to help improve citizenship and immigration resources at Pasadena Central Library and the La Pintoresca and Villa Parke branch libraries.

“Libraries try to provide resources on everything including immigration, which is a very complex issue,” said Melvin Racelis, senior librarian at La Pintoresca Branch Library in a prepared statement. “Recently there has been increased interest in this topic. As librarians, it is important that we serve the informational needs of immigrants in our community, as well as anyone else interested in the citizenship process.”

The three library sites will implement “citizenship corners” that will provide visitors access to materials to help them understand US citizenship and related processes. These informational resources will be available for checkout.

Bilingual educational workshops in English and Spanish will also be available at the three library sites, in partnership with outside organizations, to address a variety of immigrant needs. Additionally, library staff will receive training from the Department of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to help them better assist patrons with questions on the citizenship process.

Per a city ordinance, city employees cannot question a person’s immigration status.

“It is just providing resources to help people with the project. Nobody is going to be asking about their status,” Racelis told the Pasadena Weekly. “They are free to ask for help, but we are not going to procure personal information from these folks.”

Some of the information will be available for check out which will require a library card, Racelis said.

To further prepare for the test, the Pasadena Human Services and Recreation Department offers a citizenship class at Villa Parke Community Center for adults over 50. The class provides a basic overview of US history and government.

Funding for this grant is provided by the US Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

For more information, contact Racelis at (626) 744-7268 or mracelis@cityofpasadena.net; or Catherine Hany at (626) 744-4207 or chany@cityofpasadena.net.