In this new blog series, we'll be introducing you to members of the Library's Welcome to America Team.
Today, we're excited to introduce you to Linda G., who joined the team five years ago because "[she] remembered what it was like to move and get settled in a new country."
September 24, 2010 was a special day to celebrate because that’s when I became an American citizen! Overall, the process to apply for citizenship was surprisingly quick. Within 2 months after the application was sent, I received a notice of an appointment for the Civics test. I had just returned from a vacation in Hawaii with my family, and had about 2 weeks to study for the exam. The Naturalization test booklet and disc were included in the package with the notice, which was great. I used a study technique called layering (think of chocolate cake layers!) to learn the information.
The test consisted of 10 questions. I answered all correctly! The USCIS officer thought I was kidding, when I asked if I could answer more test questions. If the officer has a sense of humor, this is fun! Otherwise, it’s really not a good idea. He gave me a few more questions and the answers were correct. We laughed about this afterwards.
While I did not have any hurdles or challenges with the process, the cost might be for some. To apply for U.S. citizenship, the current fee is $725. English language proficiency might be another challenge for others. There are English language exemptions and one might be able to take the civics test in their native language. This information is on the USCIS website.
The United States is a very diverse, multi-racial and multi-ethnic country. People from around the world have been immigrating to the United States for several hundred years. At the Citizenship ceremony, it was so exciting to see people from about 15 countries become American citizens. Canada, my country, was included and represented, which gave me an overwhelming sense of pride with lots of mixed emotions. This was a special and significant moment for all of us!
Why did you decide to join the Welcome to America Team?
When I moved to Tucson with my family in 1995, the Nanini Library was a favorite place to visit for books and Storytime. The people who worked there were so friendly and we always felt very welcomed. I joined the team because I remembered what it was like to move and get settled in a new country. I wanted to be able to give to others what I received—kindness, compassion and joyfulness. Also, I wanted to do work that could help to make a difference for immigrants and refugees. It’s really about being part of the positive energy and change of what you hope the world can be.
What do you love most about your work on the committee?
Having the opportunity to collaborate on a team with colleagues who are brilliant, encouraging and supportive! It’s always interesting to explore creative ideas together for programs or projects that are meaningful and will have an impact. The library helps connect people in so many ways to their community! I have enjoyed meeting people and love to hear their stories of where they are from. There have been a lot of amazing moments and events that I have been able to be a part of with library patrons and staff, as well as incredible friendships!
Of course, this blog post wouldn't be complete without some book suggestions, so we asked Linda what she's currently reading and who are her favorite authors!
She told us her favorite authors include Kristin Hannah, Elin Hilderbrand, Lisa Jewell, Erik Larson, Clare Mackintosh, and Lisa See.
Linda is an active participant in creating content for the Library's website. Check out her booklist on citizenship and immigration or her blog posts (Gratitude and a Vision for Tomorrow, opens a new window and Countries, Culture, and a Passion for Teaching English!, opens a new window).
Helpful, informative books and other resources about U.S. citizenship and immigration, including some great books for children!
Linda G. has worked for Pima County Public Library since 2006. She is currently a Library Associate at Oro Valley Public Library. In her spare time, Linda enjoys outdoor adventures, skiing, and golf. She also loves to travel and learn about different cultures. Her favorite destination has been Phuket, Thailand where her immediate family (14 people) got together for a big reunion. Always thinking of the next ideal dream vacation, she would really like to visit the “land down under” … Australia & New Zealand!