Network Meetings provide professional development and networking opportunities for organizations and individuals providing literacy services.

November 1, 2016 ELL collaborative network meeting –  “Citizenship Corners” Project

On Tuesday, November 1rst, OKCMLC facilitated the 5th in a series of network meetings around the issue of English Language Learning (ELL). These meetings have included participants from:

Catholic Charities
Community Literacy Center (CLC)
Metropolitan Library System (MLS)
Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC)
Oklahoma City Community Foundation (OCCF)
Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS)
Oklahoma Christian University (OC)
Oklahoma City University (OCU)
Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL)
Oklahoma State Department of Education
Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC)
Community Tutors and Volunteers

Rebecca Barker of Oklahoma Department of Libraries and Dr. Robert Griffin of Oklahoma City University TESOL Department hosted the November 1rst meeting. Barker and Griffin presented a project, “Citizenship Corners,” that is a collaboration of OCU, ODL and the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma City. The corners will begin in two metro libraries – Southern Oaks and Edmond.

Libraries and literacy programs are collaborating “To meet the needs of immigrants, libraries and literacy programs collaborate to provide services and opportunities for non-English speakers seeking United States citizenship,” according to Barker. ODL, via a grant from the Institute of Museums and Library Services, have collaborated with partners in Altus, Norman and Bartlesville. These models will aid in the formation of the Oklahoma City partnership. The grant requires collaboration between a library and a literacy program.

Citizenship Corners are areas marked with banners and displays and are equipped with computers with bookmarked websites to serve English Language Learners.  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will provide materials of need and interest.

Services provided vary from one location to another, but include citizenship classes, conversation classes, English/Spanish classes, study pairs, and one to one tutoring. Citizens of thirty-three nations sought assistance in one or more of the first projects. A total of 521 immigrants were served resulting in 31 new citizens, one waiting for interview, and four having made application. Presently 47 are working on the citizenship process.

Changing demographics impact Oklahoma literacy rates and the need for literacy services. Data from the 2014 American Community Survey reported that one in five U.S. residents speak a foreign language at home. The report ranked Oklahoma as one of the states with the largest increase in foreign language speakers from 2000-2013-up 48 percent. In Oklahoma, more than 120,000 individuals age 18 and older who speak a language other than English responded that they speak English “less than very well,” with Spanish and Vietnamese as the top two non-English languages spoken.

“ Rebecca and I met in previous ELL network meetings and began the conversation about this project. We are excited to put this plan into action with the Metropolitan Libraries. Our project is partly a result of the OKCMLC ELL meetings,” Dr. Robert Griffin.

“This project has benefited not only immigrants, but also library staff, and communities at large.” Rebecca Barker. Surveys of learners disclosed greater confidence to speak in meetings and with doctors, and teachers; excitement about participating in the voting process; literacy; courage to start a business and less fear and appreciation for the libraries and literacy councils. Library staff participated in training to increase understanding of the naturalization process and increase sensitivity to patrons seeking help. Testimonials from librarians included appreciation for the citizenship journey and the effort it requires, more assurance in serving patrons and more confidence in providing informed referrals.

In preparation for putting the project in place, there will be a November 10th training for OCU TESOL student teachers and library staff. On November 16th there will be a USCIS training open to the public but seating is limited. RSVP by November 9.


Rebecca Barker, Ok. Dept. of Libraries, Host
Dr. Robert Griffin, OCU TESOL Department, Host
Jessica Abdallah, OCCC ESL Civics Coordinator
LaVetta Dent, Metropolitan Library Systems
Rady Sharkova-Foster, OCCC ESL/TOEFL Coordinator
Leslie Gelders, ODL
Alicia Mumba, OCU
Dr. Gail Nash, Ok. Christian University TEFL Department
Melodie Lance, Catholic Charities
Blair Lanning, Opportunities Industrialization Center, tutoring coordinator
Kelly Rhia, Community Outreach Metropolitan Library System
Ashley Rhone, ELL instructor/tutor
Julie Serven, Decision Grid Storytelling
Laura Taylor, Community Literacy Center
Randy Wayland, Metropolitan Library System
Mary Surbeck, OKCMLC, facilitator of ELL Network Meetings

OKCMLC Network Meetings

Download PDF presentation from the Network Meeting – Oklahoma City Public Schools Community-Wide Reading
on myON

Download PDF presentation from the Network Meeting – The Great Commitment: Working Together as One for All Kids

myonNetwork Meeting: myON
March 10, 2016
11:30-1:00 pm
United Way of Central Oklahoma
1444 NW 28th St.
Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City Public Schools is rolling out myON, a community-wide literacy initiative! myON provides students anytime, anywhere access to a library of more than 10,000 enhanced digital books with multi-media supports, real time assessments, and reading tools.

Come learn what Oklahoma City Public Schools is doing to get more books in the classrooms and homes of their students and how the entire literacy community can be a part of this initiative! This event is for organizations, professionals, and volunteers providing literacy services to children and adults, community-based programs, ESL, after school programs, education ministries, reading tutor volunteer programs, and anyone committed to making OKC a fully literate community!

Lynn Barnes, Senior Director of Curriculum and Federal Programs for OKCPS, and Gina Stanley, the myON project manager for OKCPS, will both speak about this literacy initiative and how myON can increase literacy in OKC.

Lunch provided. Please RSVP no later than March 7 by emailing


Community Volunteerism
March 5, 2015
First Christian Church at NW 36th and Walker Ave
11:30 -1:00 lunch provided

If you are a volunteer, a coordinator of volunteers, or pondering the possibility of volunteering, this is the network meeting for you. The topic of volunteerism includes how agencies recruit, retain and coordinate those passionate individuals giving time and energy to a community need. How do volunteers find their niche and make decisions about the cause they will assist.


•    Beth Patterson, Executive Director of Retired Senior Volunteers
•    Charla Rhodes, United Way Volunteer Center Director
•    Roundtable Discussion includes long time volunteers from a variety of local agencies

Please RSVP by March 4 for a lunch count.
•    405-830-2790 (please leave a message)
•    405-250-8641 (please leave a message)
•    RSVP by email


OKCMLC Network Meeting


October 21, 2014

Documents from the Oct. 21, 2014 Network Meeting

PowerPoint Slides: “A Basic Course in Writing on Low Health Literacy”

RESOURCE MANUAL2 Literacy Health-1-3

Advocacy Health Literacy Letter

Report on Network mtg 10212014

Mary Erin NW Mtg October 2014    October NW Mtg 2104     photo 1     photo 4

Future topics:

  • Community Schools
  • TEFL and TESOL Panels
  • Tutor Training and Scholarship Support
  • GED Program Update

Previous topics:

  • Vision and Literacy
  • Financial Literacy
  • Social Media
  • Community Collaborations
  • Advocacy
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Community Literacy
  • Volunteer Engagement