Prior to the American Dream project, the Jackson County Library in rural Newport, Arkansas, serving a population of 18,000, offered no special services or collections or classes for adult English-language learners. But a 337 percent increase in Arkansas’ Hispanic population between 1990 and 2000 sent a clear message to the library.
The library used funds from the American Dream Starts @ your library grant to hire a part-time ESL tutor and to purchase CDs, DVDs, and workbooks for learning English, as well as Mango Languages online language learning software. Classes grew, starting with students from a local employer. When the word got out about the American Dream project, more and more people started to attend.