Search Results for: world languages

World Language Collections

Westchester libraries hold books in multiple languages to serve the diverse community of the County. Libraries with collections of materials in languages other than English are listed below. Visit each library’s website to find information about library hours. To look for specific titles, please consult the WLS Catalog.

Mount Vernon Public Library is the Central Library of Westchester County and has more than 10,000 volumes in 71 foreign languages. The largest collections are Spanish, French, Italian and German. There are also smaller collections in Hebrew, Polish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Russian, Japanese, Dutch, Greek, Arabic and Yiddish.
The Children’s Department also has a sizable Spanish collection, with additional titles in French, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, German, Greek, Hebrew, Latin and Russian. Audio books, videos and CDs enhance both the adult and children’s collections.

WLS: Empowering Libraries, Empowering Communities


For over 50 years, WLS has served as a center of innovation for the 38 public libraries of Westchester County. One of New York State’s 23 library systems, established under the State Department of Education law in 1958, WLS’s mission is to improve library services, to reduce libraries’ costs through economies of scale and to ensure that all residents have library access on site or virtually 24/7. WLS provides model programs, affordable and easy-to-use information technology and support services that enable libraries to continuously improve services to their communities.

WLS also provides outreach and consulting services to enhance lifelong learning and improve literacy skills in our communities, staff development opportunities for member libraries and advocacy services to improve awareness of and funding for libraries. WLS is supported by funds from state and county government, foundations, corporations, and individuals.

Empowering Libraries

  • Library Services
    WLS works to reduce the libraries’ costs by providing centralized services to enrish the 38 libraries in Westchester, including:

    • Maintaining the online catalog of library holdings, reference databases, and downloadable audio books and e-books, and circulating e-readers
    • Providing cataloging services, including a Spanish language catalog, to maintain consistency and quality control over the information in the WLS catalog
    • Operating an expansive inter-library loan program among local, regional and international sources to find items not found in WLS libraries
    • Managing shared resources including collection development support, system-wide purchasing of technologies and electronic media for reference purposes
    • Operating a delivery system that transports over 2 million items annually
  • Technical Assistance and Professional Development
    As service patterns for libraries keep changing and the constant pressure on library budgets keep increasing, WLS offers consulting and technical assistance designed to improve the capabilities of member libraries.

    • Building Capacity: Advice on program content, how to build sound budget/fiscal practices and administration, workshops on fundraising and grant writing; best practices on legal issues; technology; compliance with NY State Department of Education Commissioner’s Regulations and much more.
    • Professional and Staff Development: WLS works with library directors to provide career development and advancement opportunities for staff in the local libraries. Training also includes workshops/webinars on databases, internet searching and social media networks. Given the immense diversity of Westchester’s population, WLS staff development programs include how to work more effectively with new Americans, early literates, and speakers of languages other than English. Spanish conversation workshops designed specifically to help library staff assist Spanish-speaking patrons.
    • Effective Leadership: Through a series of Trustee Institutes, WLS proactively provides trustees of all WLS member libraries with strategies for successfully governing public institutions in an ever-changing, highly competitive world.
  • Technology Services
    Managing and operating the online library and the Internet access system for the County’s 44 library sites which includes more than 600 public access computers and system-wide free access WiFi – the largest telecommunications network in Westchester County.

    All online services are available to WLS cardholders from the convenience of their homes or from elsewhere 24 hours a day. WLS technology enables individuals who are physically challenged, elderly, or otherwise homebound to explore and research from home by accessing a myriad of resources to meet their personal and professional needs. The challenge for WLS is to sustain innovative programming and system upgrades that keep pace with technological advancements.

Empowering Communities
WLS continues to build upon its services to traditionally underserved populations including the unemployed, the educationally disadvantaged, ethnic or minority groups, foreign-born residents, the disabled, seniors and those served by institutions including correctional facilities, hospitals and youth facilities. WLS signature programs include:

  • Workforce Development

    • Westchester Educational Brokering Service: Career & Educational Counseling (WEBS) – for over 30 years this program has assisted thousands of adults to advance their careers, change fields, re-enter the job market, return to school and plan for their later years. In group seminars, individual counseling and workshops at Westchester libraries, staffed by professional career counselors, adults assess abilities and interests, overcome internal barriers, better understand the world of work, improve decision making skills, develop individualized career plans, learn job hunting strategies, develop a resume and interview skills, and how to cope with job stress and job loss. All WEBS services are free of charge to the participant.
    • Job/Career Accelerator – WLS maintains a number of job search databases including online databases of job listings in Westchester County and New York State. Free acess with a library card.
    • GED Connect! provides libraries with tutors and support material to help individuals secure their GED. Thousands of adults in Westchester need to improve their literacy skills. Census 2008 shows that countywide, 15.2% of 18-24 year olds do not have a high school diploma, nor do 13.3% of those 25 and older.
  • To meet this need, WLS has recruited and trained tutors from around the county to meet and support GED seekers in communities with the most need. WLS’s web portal – – provides the user with internet resources about the GED, study tips, skill building exercises and practice tests. Utilizing online GED tools, and one-on-one instruction, students gain confidence and skills to pass the GED exams. Online GED resources are available 24/7 with a library card. GED Connect! centers are located in Peekskill, Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Mount Kisco and New Rochelle. GED Connect! services are free of charge to the participant.

  • Youth At Risk/Youth Development

    • Library Ambassadors – a summer training and employment program for teens; also provides early career and college exploration, volunteer community service opportunities and the development of marketable, transferable job skills. The program builds a foundation for future success in school and at work, building self-confidence and fostering the desire to stay in school.
    • Homework Help – a multi-generational after school and Saturday program to help children or teens tackle homework assignments, build academic skills and use online resources. Adults and teens are trained and receive ongoing support to provide academic assistance 2-3 hours per week in Westchester libraries.
  • Special Populations

    • Senior Benefit Information Centers (SBICs) – a program funded in part with support from Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services, the US Department of Human Services and NY State Office for Aging. SBICs help older adults and their caregivers find information about different types of government benefits. In a private setting, trained counselors work with seniors to connect to benefits and services that can save them time and money. Centers are located in Mount Kisco, Shrub Oak, Tarrytown, Yonkers, Peekskill, Port Chester and New Rochelle.
    • Creative Aging Program – in collaboration with Lifetime Arts, Inc., WLS member libraries are participating in this ground breaking initiative targeted to older adults that supports professional artist-led long term residency programs in the visual, performing, or literary arts in the library setting. All projects will culminate with an event, free and open to the public.
    • Programs for New Americans – WLS partners with Literacy Volunteers to offer ESL programs in Westchester libraries. Additionally, WLS online resources include basic literacy skills, citizenship tools, and English language building exercises.
    • WLS Correctional Services – promotes access to knowledge for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. WLS provides technology assistance, a special online catalog to meet prison guidelines, delivery of materials, and librarian support.