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We all come from different places, but we all strive for the same thing – a better life for ourselves, our family and future generations. For centuries, immigrants have come to America to find that better life and become active in – and contributors to – their communities.

Hartford Public Library provides key support to residents new to America by linking them to programs and services available at both the library and within the region. These resources help them acclimate to their new homes and position them for success within the community.

We Belong Here initiatives at the library connect individuals of different backgrounds and countries together to learn from one another and foster mutual understanding, as well as share their experiences and enrich their lives. We do this through:

  • Our Cultural Navigators Program, which pairs immigrant “mentors” with those who have recently moved to the country.
  • Community Dialogues, which bring immigrants and the community together to discuss and develop solutions for an issue of common interest. 
  • Additional cultural programs at the library that bring together people of different backgrounds to share and experience one another’s traditions and customs.
  • Engaging influential local community, business and educational leaders as ambassadors of our work, promoters of We Belong Here and partners in our programming.
  • Building networks of trust between immigrants and the receiving community through our three-year National Leadership Grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Freedom Dreams: We Belong Here Hartford

In 2013, Hartford Public Library offered any English Language Learner (ELL) in Hartford High School an opportunity to participate in an art/ essay contest called "Freedom Dream." This was intended to highlight the initiative for immigrant and community engagement "We Belong Here Hartford." Here are some artwork submissions.