The Update for April 11, 2024

Hello —

Last Saturday at the South County Regional Library I witnessed 14 individuals become United States citizens.

The event had been on my calendar for a while, and I was asked to make some remarks at the ceremony funded by the Library Foundation’s Flight Fund. Produced by the Library’s Welcome CLT initiative (and led by the remarkable Lonna Vines and Cameron Smith) in partnership with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services field office and other legal organizations, the collaboration provides naturalization information sessions and (now!) ceremonies to new members of our community and country.

While I was prepared to speak, I wasn’t prepared for how profoundly moving and uplifting the ceremony would be. I said:

“To our new citizens, I extend a heartfelt welcome to the great mosaic of America. Your presence enriches the tapestry of our society, adding depth, vibrancy, and fresh perspectives to our shared narrative.”

This was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had working at the Library. There were no empty seats and few dry eyes in the room. Library CEO and Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner, County commissioners Laura Meir and Susan McDowell-Rodriquez, and City Council Member LaWana Slack-Mayfield marked this occasion with the new immigrants from Belarus, Cameroon, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Jordan, Ukraine and United Kingdom.

Following the ceremony each new American signed up for their first Library card and registered to vote with the League of Women Voters.

There is no better place to welcome new people to Charlotte than at the public library, whether you’re moving here from Columbus or Columbia. Our Library is a place where everyone belongs, and where our individual narratives can intersect and deepen.

With a full heart,

Jenni Gaisbauer, CFRE
Executive Director

P.S. To learn more about how your Library serves our new residents and immigrant populations, please visit

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