At the Osceola Public Library Board meeting June 21 the board voted to subscribe to Transparent Language. This service offers patrons the opportunity to learn over 100 language, including English on a computer or mobile device.
“Transparent Language is a program that’s on our website that is, at this moment, being provided by the State Library of Iowa until the end of this month and then the State Library funding is going to go away. And if we want to keep it it’s going to cost us $300 a year,” said Francis Acland, Osceola Public Library Director. “It’s a program to help people learn new languages.”
The OPL started offering the program in 2018 and it has been free the library through the State Library of Iowa since then. This year, though, the free subscription trial is up. The board voted to pay the $300 subscription fee to continue to offer the service to patrons.
The statistics from last year showed 11 patrons had utilized the program.
“I don’t think that’s a bad price, honestly,” said Acland. “And I think it’s it’s a good program to have here, especially if we’ve got a big ESL poplulation.”
“There’s this thing on our website where people could learn english for free. That could be something that could bring in some of the Latino population to the library too,” said board member Ronda Wishon.
To have the app available on mobile devices the first step is to log in to the previously set up Transparent Language Online account, then click on the “Go Mobile” button in the top right part of the screen. For iOS search “New Transparent Language” in the app store. For Android search “Transparent Language” in Google Play store or Amazon Appstore.
Transparent Language teaches users by going through four main elements of learning a language; listening, speaking, reading and writing. There are different activities in each element and it starts out very basic for beginners.
Students taking and struggling with Spanish or ELL classes in high school can utilize this tool as well to help them learn and prepare or catch up with where they are in class.
Within Transparent Language there is a program for children six years and older called KidSpeak. Fewer languages are offered in this program. Chinese, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish are the only languages available in KidSpeak. There are fun games and activities to help children enjoy learning a new language within this program.
Acland brought to the boards’ attention the need of a library cell phone. Some patrons prefer to have a text sent out when books they’ve requested come in and are ready to be picked up. Photos and videos are frequently taken for the libraries social media accounts. All these things happen on the librarians personal phones.
“It would be nice to have a way for people to text the library and have a phone dedicated to the library,” said Acland.
To purchase a prepaid account through US Cellular would be $35 a month including unlimited texting. Data isn’t a concern as the OPL has wifi.
The board voted to purchase a cell phone for the library. More information and the contact number will be published once the new phone is available.