Glad You Asked: Library helping people overcome language barriers

Mluvíš anglicky? Parlez vous anglais? Sprechen Sie Englisch? Ingriis miyaad ku hadashaa? ¿Habla Usted inglés?

It’s hard to survive in today’s culture if English is not your native language. Thanks to a partnership between the Delaware County District Library Orange Branch and the Delaware Area Career Center Adult Education and Aspire Training, we have ongoing multi-level classes for English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

These classes take place weekly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:15 to 3 p.m. Attend one or attend them all, the class is open an interested participants are welcome to stop by any time.

For new class participants, attending an orientation is recommended. They take place once every 6 to 8 weeks, and the first one for this fall season is on Monday, Aug. 28 during regular class time. If you aren’t able to make it, another one will take place on Monday, Oct. 23.

While there is no class the week of Thanksgiving or from Dec. 18 to Jan. 2, there are always plenty of resources available at the library to continue learning. Below you’ll find some of my recommendations for “armchair travel” reads that are either recent releases or favorites.

Hodně štěstí! Bonne chance! Viel Glück! Guul ayaan kuu rajaynayaa. ¡Buena suerte!

“Ruthless River: Love and Survival by Raft on the Amazon’s Relentless Madre de Dios” by Holly FitzGerald. Fitzgerald describes how her honeymoon was cut short when her plane crashed in the jungles of Peru, forcing her and her husband to try to survive aboard a makeshift raft as they made their way down the Amazon River to civilization.

“Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, Love, and Survival” by Jeffrey Gettleman. The Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times East Africa bureau chief presents a memoir about finding love and purpose in one of the world’s most violent and beautiful regions, tracing his life-long dream of living in Africa and his winding journey toward the personal and professional ambitions of his heart.

“Shark Drunk: The Art of Catching a Large Shark from a Tiny Rubber Dinghy in a Big Ocean” by Morten Strøksnes; translated by Tina Nunnally. Strøksnes describes his experience fishing for the Greenland shark off the coast Norway with his friend, a mission that sees the two tackle existential questions, survive a maelstrom, and get drunk while trying to understand the ocean from every angle.

“Home is a Roof Over a Pig: An American Family’s Journey in China” by Aminta Arrington. A military wife, university instructor, and mother of three children including an adopted Chinese daughter recounts her experiences while stationed in a small town in China, where her efforts to adapt are challenged by propaganda-related belief systems and her family’s decidedly American perspectives.

“All Strangers Are Kin: Adventures in Arabic and the Arab World” by Zora O’Neill. A lively, often hilarious, and always warm-hearted exploration of Arabic language and culture, guided by a keen-eyed travel writer with twenty years of experience studying Arabic.

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Nicole Fowles

Glad You Asked

If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at or directly to Nicole at [email protected] No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!