HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Hartford Public Library’s The American Place program has received a $450,000 federal grant to boost the number of students enrolled in its naturalization programs.
It’s the only public library in the nation to receive the grant from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The two-year grant will help add 200 students to Hartford’s programs.
The American Place offers English classes to help immigrants and refugees learn the language and succeed in school. The programs are offered on nights and weekends to be friendly to people working during the day. The library also helps immigrants apply to be U.S. citizens.
Mayor Luke Bronin called the grant “really significant” and “a beautiful thing.”
Leaders said that 62% of Hartford’s immigrants are not citizens, and many of them do not meet the required English literacy requirement to become citizens. The city’s high poverty rate is also a barrier to gaining citizenship.