Cross Cultural Communicators in Libraries

Cross Cultural Communicators in Libraries: Developing Culturally and Linguistically Competent Library Professionals is a groundbreaking pilot program aimed at increasing cultural and linguistic competence and effectiveness in communication among English/Spanish speaking bilingual individuals working in public libraries.

The project addresses a significant challenge faced by front-line librarians and library support staff in an increasingly multicultural and multilingual society we live in. How do we communicate with and provide desired services to our communities when substantial portion of our residents do not speak English? How do we develop engagements that are culturally responsive and effective?

Funded by the IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, this two-year project develops and delivers online modules and in-person training for 350 Spanish speaking bilingual library professionals in New Jersey, Queens, New York, Hartford, Connecticut and California.

Project Activities

  • A series of self-paced webinars on topics essential to developing cultural competence: diversity and cultural norms, language and cultural barriers, citizenship and integration.
  • Face-to-face workshops in community interpretation and translation tailored for library settings.
  • Regional and national presentations and participants’ meetups in each partner region.
  • Building a community of practice and network of Spanish speaking library professionals
  • A clearinghouse of learning materials and samples and the online network will be freely available through an online platform.

Project Team

Project Director: Mimi Lee, Diversity & Literacy Consultant, New Jersey State Library


Hartford Public Library - Homa Naficy, Executive Director, The American Place


Infopeople/Califa - Lisa Barnhart, Training Coordinator

REFORMA - Tess Tobin, President 2017-2018

American Library Association - Jody Gray, Director, Office of Literacy, Outreach and Diversity Services

My Language Link - Marisa Gillio, Founder and CEO

Quality Metrics - Dr. Martha Kyrillidou, Principal


Made possible through an IMLS Grant.