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Friday, April 21 • 8:30am - 10:00am
Language, Culture, and Inclusiveness-Serving Our Communities

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Helping our communities thrive by providing free opportunities and friendly guidance to people of all ages and backgrounds is a high priority for all types of libraries. In order to meet this goal, Multnomah County Library hires bilingual staff and has built collections of materials to serve people in our community who speak one of the five languages spoken most often in our county: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, and Somali. MCL connects immigrant communities to information and resources they need to be successful in the United States, like learning English, building job and technology skills, preparing for citizenship, and attaining educational goals.

This presentation will discuss: the history, mission, and goals of Multnomah County Library We Speak Your Language services; the communities we serve; why these services are so important; examples of programs, events, and outreach; ways staff engage and connect with patrons; and how our efforts support and contribute to a thriving community. MCL staff will share their personal experiences contributing to our communities and helping them thrive. Session attendees will learn about MCL’s strategies for providing language and cultural focused services and receive information and inspiration they can apply to the programs that serve their own local communities.


Laura Bradshaw

Bilingual Spanish Library Assistant -, Fairview, Multnomah County Library
Laura has worked in Multnomah County Library for 10 years, first as a Spanish bilingual Clerk and then as a Library Assistant. She loves reaching out the Latino community wherever the need exists, and she is a passionate early literacy advocate.
avatar for Silvana Santana Gabriell

Silvana Santana Gabriell

Bilingual Spanish Library Assistant, Multnomah County Library
Nationalities: Brazilian-American Languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish Background:  Teaching, Web development and Social Media Management for the profit and non-profit sector, Project Management and software management, and Banking. Personal achievements: Recipient of... Read More →
avatar for Deanna Kohn

Deanna Kohn

Library Clerk, Multnomah County Library - Hillsdale
Deanna Kohn is a Library Clerk at the Hillsdale Branch of Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oregon. She started as a Library Page in 1998 and has worked at MCL for 18 years. Deanna completed her Master of Library Science degree in December, 2015. Deanna is the current OLA SSD... Read More →

Toan Lam-Sullivan

Chinese Regional Librarian, Multnomah County Library
Toan received his undergraduate degree in Graphic Design from Portland State University and obtained his MLIS at Emporia State University in 2009. He has worked at MCL since 2001 as a Page, bilingual library assistant, youth librarian, and currently Chinese Regional Librarian. He... Read More →
avatar for Suad Mohamed

Suad Mohamed

Bilingual Somali Library Assistant, Multnomah County Library - Capitol Hill
Suad is a Somali Bilingual Library Assistant at the Capitol Hill Branch of the Multnomah County Library where she serves on the Diverse Audiences Committee. She is the first OLA-Leadership Development scholarship recipient. Suad is also a Multnomah County Leadership Academy... Read More →

Patrick Provant

Library Supervisor, Multnomah County Library - Midland
At an especially good diversity conference, Patrick found this out: even though he he happens to be a straight, cisgender white male, he is not the standard that all others are diverse from. This turned out to be an eye-opener for someone who never imagined that he, too was diverse... Read More →


Friday April 21, 2017 8:30am - 10:00am PDT
Santiam Room 6 Salem Convention Center