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Naturalization Ceremonies in Your Public Library »Public Libraries Online

by Linda Osuna, Carol Reich August 1, 2019

Linda Osuna / Linda is the librarian for Hillsboro (OR) Public Library. He’s presently reading Manoush Zomorod's bored and sensible. Carol Reich / Carol is a librarian for Hillsboro (OR) Public Library. She is presently studying Helen Czerskin's Storm in a Tea Cup: Physics of Everyday Life.

Hillsboro (OR) Public Library (HPL) has spent the final five years renaming itself a group middle that may be a cozy place for everyone. Impressed by HPL's new mission statement (for everyone, Para Todos), employees have adopted and adopted a service model the place the library is a spot where your complete group gathers, connects and explores. As part of this new service mannequin, we attempt to build relationships within and inside our group and to offer an surroundings the place our shopper corporations can have vital interactions and experiences with HPL employees and with one another. And what better approach to have a big expertise of your life than to offer a brand new citizen a loyalty oath in the public library!

Over the previous 4 years, HPL has organized two naturalization ceremonies and located them to be a natural progress in our service and an amazing alternative to positively companion with the federal government.

Whereas libraries might hesitate to undertake what might look like a sophisticated and lengthy manufacturing course of to rearrange a naturalization ceremony, we are here to inform you that the battle might be actual, but the victory is value all the work. The ceremony gives the library a superb PR event; an unusual and noteworthy programming event; and the opportunity to create a really emotional connection for ceremony attendees, households, and associates who will all the time resonate with them and set the general public library firmly in their minds as a website the place they skilled one of the highlights of their lives.

As Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway advised the group throughout his keynote tackle, “You've all labored so onerous to get here. . . . You each have a singular story. You’re each on a singular journey. One thing you all have in widespread is perseverance, willpower and adaptability. "1

" One thing you and I have in common now, we are the citizens of the largest country in the country, "Mayor Callaway stated." Another thing is that we are equal. You are equal to me and all other citizens. The richest person, the strongest person, the smartest person, they both get one vote. Just like you and me. So, make your voice heard, make sure you vote. It's your right and it's our responsibility. "2

And right here is how the Hillsboro Public Library reached that time.


Hillsboro City Council voted in 2017 to designate Hillsboro as a sanctuary city.Previous to that, the library had already been actively working on behalf of non-citizens and had committed to the group to work with the native non-profit organization SOAR Immigration Authorized Providers to offer citizenship courses designed to organize college students for US citizenship interviews and exams, which incorporates an evaluation of English literacy and literacy, as well as information of US historical past and citizenship. In addition, HPL already routinely offered a number of English-language coaching and dialogue teams in addition to info to US immigration and citizenship advocates on both branches of citizenship. We get hold of citizenship and citizenship device kits and knowledge from your native USCIS area office. (These materials are free and obtainable on-line, or you’ll be able to contact your native subject office.)

These assets are necessary to these on the street to citizenship. For them, the library is usually the destination (and trusted supply) for info, providers, and programming. And for some, a free library might even be a brand new experience as they discover their surroundings and discover a public library a welcome area for them and their families. By taking the first step in the direction of collaborating in democracy, they will depend on the library to study, ask questions, and seek and find answers. HPL Director Stephanie Chase summed this up in a really naturalization ceremony with welcome remarks: “Public libraries are such a great example of a functioning democracy: dedicated to ensuring that all members of the community have the voice and access to it.” 3

USCIS IS A PARTNER ] In accordance with a February 2019 article in The New York Occasions (Jordan 2019), many USCIS workplaces round the USA have left citizenship purposes.4 This proliferation of purposes in current years has created opportunities for different venues, akin to the public library, to host naturalization ceremonies, busy processing numerous purposes and is pleased that the group partners are internet hosting the closing ceremony. We additionally work for us on the truth that USCIS workplaces have a robust interest in working with public libraries as a result of they meet the requirement that USCIS should use "impartial facilities that are uncharacteristic of any religion, commercial, or political affiliation. ". On the library aspect, the ceremony presents the opportunity to increase visibility as a gathering place for the group, and to emphasize libraries more than established, traditional guide stores. And for many who are residents, including many who lately attended the Hillsboro April 2019 ceremony, we’re satisfied that the bookstore has an necessary place in their hearts and minds. So, what steps do you have to and the library employees contemplate when designing such a special expertise?


Your unique opportunity begins by contacting your native USCIS office for a Corporate Relations Advisor. If your library decides to reap the benefits of this chance and move on to a naturalization ceremony, there are several things to think about.

First, it is very important know that USCIS might not give the host sites a lot time to plan and schedule the ceremony. For example, HPL had a six-week discover period throughout which it organized its 2019 occasion, which included venue scheduling, price range allocations, decorations, and native and USCIS speakers.

Smaller ceremony venues, resembling a public library, are chosen based on the geographical location and the area obtainable to accommodate all people who may be attending or attending the ceremony, sometimes as much as 60 individuals. First you might want to find out in case you have sufficient area to welcome the individuals, their household and associates. The current HPL event hosted forty-nine organic candidates from twenty-eight totally different nations that lived across the Portland metro area. As well as, about 125 individuals got here to the library to help the nominee, which created a robust help base for our giant meeting room.

The ceremony is held on a decent schedule and may be quite brief relying on the variety of candidates swearing in on that day and the expectations of your native USCIS area office. And whereas USCIS works intently with libraries ahead of the ceremony, the library itself has the opportunity and duty to create and plan an event that adds to the significance of the ceremony. The environment of this program is vital. You have to think about the right way to create a cushty setting for an important and memorable expertise.

You need to think about native partnerships, reminiscent of working with an area regulation enforcement agency or veteran's group to ship an honor guard to carry out a colour rendition, and contemplating contracting with an area musician or high school band to play national anthems. and perhaps present background music earlier than and after the ceremony. Ask the library director to say a couple of words on the ceremony to welcome the most recent citizens. Ask an area authorities representative, similar to your mayor, to enhance the ceremony with a short opening remarks and be a part of USCIS employees to welcome candidates as pure citizens only. Seeks out attendees who are well-established and match for the aim of the ceremony, who stand for the importance and price of the occasion, and who are prepared to organize impartial remarks.

Public libraries, together with different authorities businesses, should make troublesome selections about tips on how to greatest shield their clients and consider artistic ways to stretch every programming dollar. Don't let this stop the library from contemplating a ceremony. Keep in mind, the library creates expertise as an alternative of offering a service, so an enormous finances is admittedly not mandatory. Attendees keep in mind how they felt in your library once they gave the Allegians a swear, not which flowers adorned the stage they went via. Chances are you’ll find that individuals are very happy to donate their time and skill to these kind of events because of the scale and the library might should pay so little. You might have library associates or a Library Foundation group that might discover a majority of these occasions helpful to contribute to its success.

As a last step, keep in mind that the USCIS office should approve all guest speakers and examine their comments on content material and size before the occasion. They require you to share the names and make contact with particulars of all volunteers who either attend or attend the ceremony. And for many who converse on the event, the USCIS workplace, along with a affirmation letter, follows the instructions for their remarks. As well as, the local area workplace will determine the suitable degree of attendance for the speaker in terms of length of presentation and content material of speeches. And, since this can be a federal authorities official event, last-minute speaker change shouldn’t be allowed, and by no means can anyone aside from a USCIS official perform any USCIS duties, similar to giving an Allegian oath or issuing citizenship certificates. newly naturalized US residents.


There are two varieties of naturalization ceremonies:

  1. In a legal ceremony, the courtroom administers allegiance to energy.
  2. In an administrative ceremony, the USCIS administers the oath of allegiance; libraries host ceremonies of this sort.

Public libraries are neutral spaces in the group that everyone is welcome to, so individuals typically don’t see them like different public our bodies, such because the police or the courts. Because of this libraries have a singular opportunity to behave as a natural gathering area. We are dedicated to offering truthful entry for all, so having a management ceremony in a public library is sensible and is part of our position in the group. (Extra details on some of these ceremonies are available on-line.)

Once you go to the USCIS web site, you can see step-by-step info on citizenship and naturalization ceremonies, as well as all the things about organizing an administrative naturalization ceremony in your library. . On the Website online, beneath "Template for Management Naturalization Ceremonies," you will discover info on what the host website expects, as well as an evidence and steps for the ceremony program and rules for attendees, together with visiting speakers. The location additionally supplies info on voter registration info that may be shared at the finish of the administrative citizenship granting part when new citizens have the proper to vote.


Planning a naturalization ceremony is a chance to involve employees in a relatively easy event planning experience. Depending on your imaginative and prescient and finances, you will have every little thing from setting chairs, ordering mild snacks and occasional, reaching out to a guard and getting a keynote speaker. The great thing about this event is that the library can play a simple position in making the event a memorable expertise for the most recent US residents. As your library hosts this necessary event, it is best to take the opportunity to get “Welcome [your library name]” tags, have employees serve as hosts and present library friends the place they’re sitting through the ceremony, and perhaps provide mild snacks as a result of in any case, this can be a celebration! You have to make a "table" in your visitors and make them feel welcome. At HPL, we set up a selfie station for many who needed to take an image in entrance of the US flag and rented a podium to increase the visibility of the speakers.

Correct background music before and after the ceremony is an excellent contact. Nevertheless, you will need to notify the USCIS Area Office if there is a performing band or soloist and their names and call particulars.

After the HPL ceremony, we acquired impressive suggestions from the employees design workforce on their involvement in the design process. One worker who volunteered for the installation and internet hosting of the ceremony stated he was modified when he watched everyone swear an oath. HPL library assistant Serena Davis commented: "I am so proud that I am a US citizen and I am so happy for everyone today," 6 It is actually an emotional ceremony, if you cease to think about how exhausting individuals have worked in order to get to the library on that big day and you will notice the brand new residents and the faces and reactions of their supporters. Ensure that tissue bins are simply accessible all through the room – they are needed.


Organizing a naturalization ceremony is a incredible PR alternative for the library, as there are various photograph opportunities for families, youngsters and native audio system to make good pictures for future advertising and advertising campaigns in your group. Hold your photograph varieties prepared for those radiant faces!

For HPL, this was another instance of a library that was concerned in constructing a group and emphasizing that our library is actually a welcome area for everyone. After receiving affirmation from USCIS that we’ll be holding the ceremony, we contacted our Metropolis Communications Workplace to send a press release and to the native media and media adviser for particulars of our "who, what, where, when, why" event. Media counseling templates may be discovered on the Web in case your library handles all communications internally. In promoting social media, which might be very efficient in promoting other kinds of library occasions, it ought to be decided whether or not the library invitations most of the people to take part or whether it focuses on publishing the announcement after the event. Depending on the dimensions of the group, retaining the ceremony a small, intimate program for attendees and their fast household and pals could be the proper selection.

Providing an official ceremony program for an event is all the time an ideal concept and creates a nice follow-up for attendees. Nevertheless, earlier than planning, it’s a good suggestion to work together with your local USCIS subject office on particular info for the ceremony. You may as well talk about together with your local USCIS subject office to determine whether or not they should produce this doc themselves or have it processed as an alternative. The USCIS web site (underneath "Ceremony Program") lists all the knowledge required for the program. Again, be sure that all names, titles and call info are ready and made obtainable to the Group Relations Officer at your local area workplace at the least one week earlier than the planned ceremony.


You did it! You collaborated, planned, organized, founded and introduced probably the most necessary and gratifying packages of 1 programming yr. Just as quickly as everybody got here together, it's now a nice reminiscence for individuals who came to your library as candidates for naturalization and left an official US citizen. They’ll always remember the superb experiences that they had in your library.

Library manager Chase stated it greatest: “In this order devoted to those rules, if you give a civic oath, it is a particular and symbolic second. Thanks in your commitment to our nation and thanks for sharing your experience with us. Most significantly, welcome on behalf of the Hillsboro Public Library and the City of Hillsboro employees in addition to the complete Hillsboro group. "7

This occasion, like many others that we as library professionals design, organize and execute, is why we love libraries! We’re group builders, inventors, connectors and interest. We care about our communities and are captivated with making certain that everyone feels welcome and handled with respect as they stroll. The employees who attended the naturalization ceremony might not go away to recollect your identify, however they’ll always remember how you made them really feel on their big day. You could be pleased with it and know that you simply have been part of one thing actually special.

After this naturalization ceremony, Mayor Callaway acknowledged, writing, “Every time they tell stories of citizenship, Hillsboro and our libraries are part of their story. Thank you. Each time they share pictures of their ceremony, Hillsboro and our library are included. Thank you. ”eight

We encourage you to think about organizing a naturalization ceremony in your group. It was a huge honor for the town to host the Naturalization Ceremony for the second time at HPL, and we have been also excited concerning the event we hosted throughout National Library Week 2019. In Hillsboro, as in so many other communities, HPL is proud to be not only a reliable source of data, but in addition an inviting area for everybody in the group.


  1. Steve Callaway, E-mail to Stephanie Chase, April 11, 2019.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Stephanie Chase, USCIS Naturalization Ceremony, Welcome Feedback, April 11, 2019.
  4. Miriam Jordan, "Citizenship Expectations have Doubled in the Last Two Years," New York Occasions, February 21, 2019, Arrived. July 2, 2019.
  5. US Citizenship and Immigration Coverage Guide, acquired July 2, 2019.
  6. Serena Davis, writer interview, April 11, 2019.
  7. Chase.
  8. Callaway.

Tags: Citizenship, Citizenship Preparation Programs in Library, Naturalization Ceremonies