Library Director Diane Kresh speaking during the U.S. Naturalization Ceremony at Central Library. Photo by Christopher George.
On August 24, 2023, Arlington Public Library had the privilege of hosting a U.S. Naturalization Ceremony.
As a local government department, we were asked by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to be the location where 50 people, representing over 30 countries, would become new American citizens.
It was an awe-inspiring experience, and it reminded me how libraries are for all.
- Libraries provide free and unrestricted access to information, for all.
- Libraries create safe spaces to celebrate our collective and varied cultures, for all.
- Libraries are the center of the community, and we welcome all, whether you are a citizen or not.
50 people, representing over 30 countries, participated in the U.S. Naturalization Ceremony. Photos by Christopher George.
The library is a place of new beginnings and possibilities for these 50 new Americans who were sworn in yesterday, for our diverse Arlington community (of which 22.5% are foreign born), and for future generations of New Americans arriving to Arlington. We even offer classes to prepare for the United States Citizenship Exam.
Rita Dove, former Poet Laureate of the Library of Congress, has said, "Libraries are where it all begins." And it's true. Let’s think about that for a minute in the context of what it means to be a citizen.
Becoming a citizen means being granted certain rights and responsibilities in exchange for active engagement in community life and governance, at both the local, state and national level.
Citizenship is a weighty responsibility. One that requires patience and diligence. This Country’s form of representational government depends on the active engagement of all citizens.
And that’s where we come in. Libraries, especially public libraries, were founded on the belief that the public has a right to know.
Arlington Public Library welcomes all who enter our doors.
September is “Library Card Sign-up Month.” Please join us with our vital work in the community by finding a way to help someone get a new library card.
With libraries, the possibilities are endless and communities are stronger.
Libraries for all.
Diane KreshDirector, Arlington Public Library