Free U.S. Citizenship Classes

For Immediate Release
December 30, 2015


Now Available at Several Santa Clara County Library District Libraries


SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. –December 30, 2015 – Currently, more than 10 million immigrants call California home, making this state’s foreign-born population higher than any other state in the U.S.  Santa Clara County, with a population of over 1.8 million people, has one of the highest percentages of foreign born residents (37.4%) as compared to the national average (13.1%).  (Sources: “Just the Facts. Immigrants in California.”  Public Policy Institute of California 2015 http://bit.ly/1ROcNSK  and “Quick Facts Santa Clara County, California,” United States Census Bureau 2015 http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/POP645214/06085,00).
 
Last summer, in an ongoing commitment to provide public access to information and technology to all residents, including new immigrants to the area, the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) introduced a pilot program of free citizenship classes at the Milpitas Library.  Classes were immensely popular and quickly filled to capacity, paving the way for additional programs in nearby cities.  “The public library has long been a trusted source for information.  We are pleased to be piloting this citizenship initiative for the California State Library.  In addition to the classes, each of our libraries will also have a Citizenship Corner which provides naturalization information at no cost,” stated Nancy Howe, County Librarian for SCCLD.
 
SCCLD’s free classes are specifically designed to help anyone wishing to become a citizen understand the questions on the citizenship test as well as what may be asked during the interview.  Attendees learn about civics, government structure, and basic American history.  Reading and writing in English are covered as well as assistance in interviewing skills.  While highly recommended to attend all eight sessions, it is not mandatory. “We have found that many students come and go, picking up the information or handouts they need.  We encourage everyone to check out our citizenship resources on our main website at:  http://www.sccl.org/Services/Citizenship-Resources,” stated Jennifer Gagliardi, SCCLD’s new Citizenship Action Project Coordinator.
 
A typical person seeking U.S. citizenship is someone who has been a legal permanent resident in the U.S. for at least five years, can read, write and speak English, is 18 years old or older and has a basic understanding of the fundamentals of U.S. history and government.  Applicants must first submit a Federal Form N-400.  Once the application is submitted, candidates undergo a background check and interview with a United States Citizenship Immigration Services officer (USCIS).  They are then tested on English and Civics.  “We are very pleased to provide such a comprehensive level of instruction to anyone looking to become a U.S. citizen,” continued Gagliardi.  “Our eight week series focuses on questions included on the citizenship test as well as U.S. History and Government. We provide participants with detailed practice materials appropriate to their literacy level.  Empowered students become good American citizens!" 
 
This program was made possible through a grant from the California State Library.  All Citizenship classes are free and open to the public. Space is limited and residents are encouraged to sign up early at their local library.

 
Upcoming Citizenship Classes:
 
Campbell Library
Wednesday afternoons, 1:30 - 3 PM
Wednesdays, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13 and 20
 
Cupertino Library
Friday afternoons, 4 - 5:30 pm
February 5, 12, 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18, 25
 
Gilroy Library
Saturday mornings at 10:30 am - 12 noon
January 23, 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 5, 12
 
Milpitas Library
Monday evenings, 7 – 8:30 pm
February 1, 8, 22, 29 and March 7, 14, 21, and 28
 
Morgan Hill Library        
Tuesday afternoons, 2 – 3:30 pm
April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31
 
Saratoga Library
Friday afternoons, 1 - 2:30 pm
February 5, 12, 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18, 25
  
Additional information on SCCLD’s Citizenship Classes can be found at:  http://www.sccl.org/Services/Citizenship-Resources.
 
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About the Santa Clara County Library District
The Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) promotes knowledge, ideas, and cultural enrichment. Its collection includes more than 1.9 million books, videos, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, eBooks and extensive online resources accessible from home or work.

In 2014, SCCLD celebrated one hundred years of service to local residents. For the last several years, SCCLD has been consistently recognized as one of America’s Star Libraries by Library Journal. In 2014, SCCLD was ranked among the top ten large libraries in the United States in the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service. In 2014 and 2015, SCCLD won Innovator Awards from the Urban Libraries Council.

The Santa Clara County Library District includes two bookmobiles, an online library, seven community libraries and one branch library serving Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. In 2014, the Santa Clara County Library District had more than 225,000 library cardholders and welcomed 3.3 million visitors who borrowed 9.4 million items, making it one of the most used resources in the region. Visit Santa Clara County Library District online at www.sccl.org.


Contact: 
Nancy Howe/Chris Brown /Lili Smith
Santa Clara County Library District
(408) 293-2326 ext. 3001/3010/3014