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Libraries Serving Immigrant Populations in North Carolina. The Hmong People. Sharing our Experiences. Disclaimer - we have struggled with how best to serve the Hmong people! During today’s presentation: The Catawba County Library System Who are the Hmong? What are their needs?

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Presentation Transcript
sharing our experiences
Sharing our Experiences

Disclaimer - we have struggled with how best to serve the Hmong people!

  • During today’s presentation:
  • The Catawba County Library System
  • Who are the Hmong?
  • What are their needs?
  • How has our library addressed their needs?
  • How can we all be more effective in serving these library customers?
catawba county library system
Catawba County Library System
  • Our county is located in the Piedmont section of North Carolina.
  • Our library system is a service of Catawba County Government.
who are the hmong
Who are the Hmong?
  • Hill-tribe people originally from China
  • Migrated to Laos, Thailand, Burma and Vietnam in the 1800s
  • Recruited by the CIA to fight the North Vietnamese in Vietnam War
  • Due to persecution after the war, many fled to Thailand and later immigrated to the United States, Canada, France, Australia and South America
2005 american community survey census data
2005 American Community Survey - Census Data
  • 188,900 Hmong in the United States
  • 65% under the age of 24
  • 50% of population 25 years or older have less than a high school diploma
hmong in north carolina
Hmong in North Carolina
  • United Hmong Association estimates:
    • 15,000 to 16,000 Hmong live in NC
    • 5,000 to 6,000 live in Catawba & Burke counties
    • Majority of others live in Alexander, Caldwell, McDowell & Iredell counties
what are their needs
What are their needs?

The Hmong have a great desire to protect & preserve their language & culture.

Peb nej hnub hais lus,

siv lus, tsuastab peb tsis

paub tias lus yog dabtsi,

peb tsim lus licas, peb

siv lus li cas thiab lus

muaj nqi baum li cas rau


how has our library addressed their needs
How has our libraryaddressed their needs?
  • Language
    • Have had some documents translated into Hmong
      • Library Code of Conduct on web page
      • Department of Social Services: Hmong documents
    • Have a part-time Hmong library assistant who can interpret for us
  • Community exhibits
    • Displays of costume, jewelry, story cloths, & other cultural artifacts
  • Programs
    • Big Read project included Hmong cultural programs (The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien about Vietnam War)
    • Film showing: “The Split Horn” a documentary about a Hmong father who worries that his children are becoming too Americanized
  • Multicultural collection includes bilingual and Hmong language items
    • Smart Start dollars built initial collection
    • Continue to build as we find new items
  • Magazine for teens: “Hmoob Teen”
    • Produced by the Hmong American
resource brochure
Resource Brochure
  • Brochure to highlight all materials about Hmong people on our web site (print copies today)

where to find resources
Where to Find Resources
  • Hmong Arts, Books & Crafts: online store at
how can we all be more effective in serving these library customers
How can we all be more effective in serving these library customers?

To prepare for this presentation:

  • Interviewed Tong Yang, Executive Director of the United Hmong Association in Hickory
  • Surveyed the Hmong community
tong yang s recommendations
Tong Yang’s Recommendations
  • Help them to preserve their culture and language (bilingual children’s books, films in Hmong language; library programs & displays)
  • Have the library open when working parents can bring their children
  • Keep telling the Hmong community what the library has to offer (in Hickory area, use the Hmong radio)
hmong community survey
Hmong Community Survey
  • 68 respondents
    • 26 through library branches
    • 42 through United Hmong Association and a local Hmong market
  • 45% were male
  • 55% were female
  • Age range of respondents:
    • 25% under 18 years
    • 52% 18-24 years
    • 15% 25-34 years
    • 5% 35-50 years
    • 3% 51-64 years
    • 0% 65 years or older
  • 94% use a library in Catawba County
  • 6% do not use a library
who uses the library
Who uses the library?
  • 67% say a child in their family uses the library
  • 73% say a teen
  • 62% say a college student
  • 46% say a parent
  • 8% say a grandparent
why do they use the library
Why do they use the library?
  • 82% for research
  • 75% for homework
  • 78% for good books to read
  • 22% to read a newspaper or magazine
  • 72% to get movies
  • 21% to get a good book to listen to
  • 4% to go to a story program for children
  • 7% to go to a library program
  • 32% to have a comfortable place to relax
  • 16% to meet someone
  • 4% to use the Internet
who reads the hmong language
Who reads the Hmong language?
  • 93% have a family member who reads Hmong
  • 7% have no one who reads Hmong
    • 10% say a child in their family reads Hmong
    • 30% say a teen
    • 38% say a college student
    • 77% say a parent
    • 32% say a grandparent
  • Best way to be more effective – keep talking!
    • To the Hmong community
    • To each other to share what we learn
  • Acknowledge and respond to their needs with available resources

[email protected]