Case Studies - Nashville Public Library

Nashville Public Library

About Nashville Public Library

With 20 branches and over 140 languages spoken around the city, Nashville Public Library (NPL) seeks to serve its community with as many language resources as possible, including English as a Second Language (ESL) materials and services. In 2010, NPL partnered with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools to help make public library materials and resources available to students in 16 area high schools through a program called "Limitless Libraries". Since then, the program has expanded and now services all 128 Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.

As part of their ongoing outreach, NPL also brings mobile computer labs equipped with ESL materials to non-profit groups, refugee resettlement agencies, schools, and other organizations around the city that might not otherwise have access to this technology. By participating in these programs and offering countless free resources at their branches, NPL seeks to encourage lifelong learning throughout the Nashville community.

Challenge

In 2013, Nashville Public Library created an adult literacy program to serve the large population of immigrants and refugees in the city. In the year leading up to the program's public availability, many language-learning resources were evaluated to find the best one for the library and Nashville community, including their existing resource, Mango Languages, and their state-provided resource, Powerspeak Languages.

The criteria for a language-learning program set forth by staff at the Library included diversity in the number of available languages (including a large ESL offering), opportunities for learners to practice speaking, self-assessment tools, tutorials and help files available in as many native languages as possible, and mobile access, including tablet support.

Solution

Upon finishing their evaluation in 2014, Nashville Public Library chose to offer Transparent Language Online to its community. The staff at the library appreciated the wide variety of languages available within Transparent Language Online, including the availability of ESL courses for speakers of over 24 languages. The incorporation of all four languages skills into the learning activities, notably the speaking activities, set Transparent Language Online apart from other resources.

Results

Since its adoption, Nashville Public Library has promoted Transparent Language Online in a variety of ways. While the library doesn't host formal language classes, NPL does have a mobile computer lab that allows them to setup computer labs in classrooms where they can walk new users through setting up an account and how to use the program.

In a recent example, the library partnered with an area charter school whose students were mainly the children of immigrants and non-native English speakers. In order to help the parents learn English, NPL setup after-school enrichment classes for the children, while the parents improved their English with Transparent Language Online.

Using Transparent Language Online via these mobile labs is an exciting opportunity for educators and program administrators throughout the city, as many of them do not currently have access to technology in their classrooms. By bringing technology and library resources to these groups, NPL is able to serve the community while introducing the types of resources available at the library – which has created an uptick of community members coming directly into the library on a regular basis.

Usage of Transparent Language Online has been nothing short of impressive. With almost 5,000 sessions logged in less than 1 year, top languages accessed by NPL's users include Spanish, English for Spanish speakers, French, and English for Arabic speakers. With the large number of non-English speakers using Transparent Language Online, Nashville Public Library also authors and translates their own how-to flyers for speakers of Arabic and Spanish to help generate awareness of the program, helping to generate new sign-ups every day.