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Foreign Language Services for non-English Speakers at Oregon Public Libraries


Multnomah County Library (MCL) patrons know that materials, signs, events, and librarians bring multi-lingual expertise to their patrons, but did you know that the Multnomah County Library and other public libraries around Oregon (and likely other states) also provide “language line” service to their patrons.

I recently asked MCL if they still have the service and here was their response:

“Thank you for contacting Multnomah County Library about the “Language Line” service. We do still use telephone interpretation services to help us assist patrons who may not be fluent in English. I’m sorry that information isn’t readily available on our website–I will suggest that it be added.

The service we use now is called IRCO, and offers interpretation in 23 languages. We are able to use IRCO for telephone interpretation to help patrons who visit branches in person, as well as patrons who contact us by telephone.

We also have staff members at several branches who offer services in Chinese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese, and offer library materials in these languages at some locations.

The library is committed to serving all members of our community–thank you for helping immigrants and refugees connect with us!”

Other Oregon libraries have posted additional information about, for example, Legal Resources for Immigrants, a guide at the Washington County Cooperative Library Service (WCCLS) website for their member libraries.

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