A New Chapter for Poughkeepsie Library District

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Albert Einstein once said, “The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” Take it from him, he isn’t wrong! Libraries provide a community hub with a wealth of information, knowledge, and stories to be uncovered by anyone regardless of background or situation.

Located in the Hudson Valley in New York State, the City and Town of Poughkeepsie are home to a population of over 75,000. We were delighted to welcome the Poughkeepsie Public Library District as one of our new clients recently, especially since the town is the county seat of Dutchess County, one of our first clients here in the US.

In addition to book lending, the library provides programming such as early literacy programs, adult learning programs, job search assistance, computer classes, and access to online services for free movies, research of databases, and more.

As part of a website redesign last year, Poughkeepsie Library began looking at different ways to make their site more user-friendly, particularly through translation capabilities. Yvonne Laube, the Public Information Officer for Poughkeepsie Library District, told us why.

“We had intentions of looking into translation because in Poughkeepsie, we have a large Spanish-speaking population and we wanted to make our website more inclusive. We were in a holding pattern while we were researching the best options.”

The library discovered Recite Me through Dutchess County’s Think Differently website, which they are partners with through the “Dutchess Reads” Campaign, an initiative designed to promote reading at all age levels.

By now, it’s no secret that the United States is a melting pot of cultures and languages. In fact, in the 2012-2016 American Community Survey report approximately 16.25% of the City and Town of Poughkeepsie Residents were born outside of the United States and are most likely to use a foreign language in their homes.

At Recite Me, we’ve promoted the need for web accessibility at length, but the fact is, web accessibility is so much more than bigger font sizes and audio narration. Translation capabilities are especially important as migration increases and foreign countries are now within easy reach thanks to modern-day travel. In a country such as the United States where Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, and Korean are commonly spoken at home, the importance of online translation options is absolutely crucial to get right.

As well as having two native Spanish-speaking librarians and several bilingual staff members on hand, the library identified that they also needed these same options online.

Yvonne explains, “We had to ask ourselves how we were including everyone in that regard, and if we were making the information easy to find and giving them the ability to translate. That was our goal internally and it was always on our website “wishlist”. It was just a matter of finding the right solution. Recite Me is awesome because it tackled even more than we had aimed for.”

As well as partnering with Dutchess County through Dutchess Reads, the library is also partners with Dutchess County in several literacy-related endeavors. One of these includes Books for Buses, a campaign comprised of the Mid-Hudson Library System (Poughkeepsie Library District is the largest serving library of 66 libraries total in the system) donating books and putting them on local buses, allowing patrons to take a free book or leave a book. On December 1st, the library is launching “Snow Many Books” in which children’s library staff members recommend the best gift-worthy titles to give as Christmas gifts for children and adults alike.

As well as promoting reading through various literacy events, the library also aims to create more inclusive programming. Yvonne elaborates, “Last year, the Library District has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for their Big Read campaign. For the first time, we introduced a special needs book club to discuss the “Little Read” book. We had about 8-10 participants attend along with their aides to discuss the book. It was a new program for us and we were really happy with the outcome.”

Libraries are evidently still thriving community resources today, and with libraries like Poughkeepsie’s, we are so glad to see an inclusive and welcoming environment being fostered for every member of the community. At a time when technology is rapidly growing, it’s clear to see that Poughkeepsie Library District is adapting to the times to benefit its patrons.

To learn more about Poughkeepsie Public Library District, visit https://poklib.org

To learn more about Recite Me, including how to book your free demo, visit www.reciteme.com

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