The Harris County Public Library system in Texas faces the challenge of accommodating a diverse immigrant population that makes up over one-quarter of the county’s total population. To address this, the Library is partnering with FUSE to develop a strategy for expanding programming and services for immigrants, focusing on facilitating the pathway to citizenship. FUSE Executive Fellow Rahma Sallu will conduct a listening tour to gather input from stakeholders and identify gaps in the current programming. She will then create an actionable strategy that prioritizes high-risk and vulnerable members of the immigrant community. Rahma will also research successful programs worldwide and evaluate existing partnerships to recommend new relationships for the Library. By implementing this plan, the Library aims to raise awareness of available services and become a leading example for other library systems nationwide.
Starting in October 2023, Rahma will work with County, community, and private stakeholders to develop a framework for expanding citizenship services in Harris County. She will conduct a comprehensive listening tour, engaging with immigrant communities to understand their needs and identify effective strategies. She will also examine the geographic distribution of immigrants in the region to ensure adequate support for all communities. Through research and evaluation of best practices, Rahma will recommend partnerships, personnel, and funding necessary to execute the Library’s mission effectively. She will establish mechanisms for tracking goals, programs, and policies resulting from the new strategy and collaborate with stakeholders to prioritize projects based on community needs. By building a network of service providers and serving as a convener for regional organizations, the Library aims to strengthen pathways to citizenship and become a model for other libraries nationwide.