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Refugee and Immigrant Services (ESL/ELL)

English Reading Hour 

Practice reading and speaking English with fellow English Language Learners. The only cost is an hour of your time (it’s free to participate)! Every monthly session we read comic strips, prose and poems, and we read lyrics and then listen to songs. We answer any pronunciation, spelling, or grammar questions that appear and we discuss possible meanings behind the readings and how they make us feel. There’s learning and discussion and friends to be made in a friendly and nurturing setting. If English is your Second Language, then come read and learn with us! 

Second Monday of the Month from 4-5 PM CST


June 13, July 11, August 8, September 12, October 10, November 14, December 12

Please register for the program here.

[English Reading/Conversation Hour pdf]


English Conversation Hour

A free weekly conversation session for adult English language learners. Strategies for "small talk" and getting-to-know-you activities, as well as games and structured practice to activate vocabulary and language skills, are offered in a relaxed and supportive environment. Everyone is welcome! 

Tuesdays from 4-5 PM CST


June 7, 14, 21, 28; July 5, 12, 19, 26; August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
September 6, 13, 20, 27; October 4, 11, 18, 25
November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; December 6, 13, 20, 27

Please register for the program here.


Job Literacy for Refugees and Immigrants 

This class helps beginning-level ESL/ELL job seekers gain the language skills and cultural understandings needed to function successfully in today’s workplace.  The class covers job vocabulary, workplace culture and job seeking. 

Mondays, 5-6 PM


Oct. 31, Nov. 21, Dec. 19


Feb. 20, Mar. 20, Apr. 1

Please Register for this class here


Voces de la Frontera Citizenship Classes 

In partnership with MPL, Voces de la Frontera is offering Beginner Citizenship Classes for the English Exam. All students MUST register before attending the classes with Jeanette Arellano 414-236-0415 or Paola Barragan 262-346-4027. All students must have at least 5 years residency or 3 years as a permanent resident who is married to a U.S. citizen. In Person is limited. Masks required. Class is presented in English and Spanish.

Wednesdays, 4:30 PM to 5:45 PM
Mitchell Street Branch



"Participating in English Reading Hour and in English Conversation Hour at the Milwaukee Public Library from the Dominican Republic has been a great thing for me. It helped me finish my English program successfully and I had a lot of fun in every meeting. Take advantage of this great opportunity!" - Nelida

"I love English Conversation Hour.  The librarians are super enthusiastic and cheerful.  They teach us a lot of vocabulary and answer questions.  I feel more confident when talking to people.  It has helped me a lot.  I am able to speak better, understand better and I can share my stories with everyone. The program is also very relaxed and fun. Thank you very much!" - Van Trang

"Attending English Conversation Hour makes me happy. I learn new words and improve my pronunciation. The librarians that teach us are very friendly and patient! We meet people from all over the world!" - Polina

"One of the good things from 2020 was the time I spent practicing English with some other English Language Learners. The virtual meeting was like a refuge for me.  In this class I practice my English and I have been noticing improvements in my knowledge of the language.  We talk about our weekend recaps, food, festivities, and then have open discussion which opens up more learning.  The classes are all very nice. There is no way to forget the English expressions and phrasal verbs presented to us in the English Conversation Hour.  I feel really thankful because of the job the librarians have done for us."  - Lidia


Additional ESL/ELL Resources

MPL offers additional resources for English as a Second Language (ESL) and English Language Learners (ELL). Central’s Adult Study Center has various materials to improve one’s English. This material is available for specific ESL/ELL languages as well as general ESL/ELL. Many of the branch libraries in the MPL system also offer ESL/ELL materials.

MPL subscribes to Mango Languages, Pronunciator, and Transparent Languages electronic resources. These subscription sites offer language-specific ESL modules in many different languages. In addition Learning Express offers practice tests for ESL tests, and  the Gale Courses database has a number of ESL courses. 

ESL/ELL Virtual Office Hours

Need additional help learning English?  Have questions about English conversation?  Email us at to set up a day and time to work virtually with a trained ESL MPL Librarian. 


Want to practice writing English with a native speaker? Try our ESL/ELL Pen Pal program!  An MPL librarian will correspond with you through email to practice writing and reading comprehension. For more information or to get started email us at

For more information on the services we provide including partnerships please contact the Refugee and Immigrant Services Committee:
(414) 286-0816 - Phone number for Refugee and Immigrant Services Chair Eric Johnson

Recorded Programs

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And Then There Were None
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A haunting, diverse debut story collection that explores the isolation we experience in the face of the mysterious, often dangerous forces that shape our lives.

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