A growing number of public libraries are choosing Livemocha as the online language learning tool that they offer to their patrons. I recently had the opportunity to talk to Kat Lucas, Acting Coordinator of eServices at Richmond Public Library in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. who was kind enough to share why Livemocha was chosen and how well it’s been working for their patrons.
For information on how to get Livemocha into your local library, visit our Livemocha for Libraries page.
What was the initial need that your library had for a language-learning solution?
Richmond has an extremely diverse population, with well over half of our residents speaking a language other than English as their primary language. Therefore, it’s important that we have an online language-learning tool for ESL learners, as well as for those who need to do business in another language, for people who travel, and for students.
For what reasons did you choose Livemocha?
We chose Livemocha primarily for its combination of traditional learning methods, and interactive opportunities; being able to practice with people who speak the language you’re learning is incredibly important to the learning process, and we knew it would be an extremely popular feature with our customers. Livemocha also provided more levels and courses than other resources we had considered in the past.
What are the primary languages that library patrons are learning? Why?
The top 5 languages for Richmond Public Library so far are basic Mandarin, basic French, active English, basic Japanese, and basic English. Basic Mandarin: Richmond has a large Chinese speaking community, and many parents want to make sure their children can still speak the language of their home country so that they can communicate with their families. Also, we have a large ESL community, and several French Immersion schools. Many people in our community also want to learn Mandarin for business.
What kind of feedback have you received from patrons? Are you seeing more people getting involved in language learning now that Livemocha is available?
We’ve had very positive feedback from our customers so far. We did collect a few comments from them:
- “Awesome, this is cool! I am going to share this to my facebook friends.”
- “I will start learning a new language with this free service from the library.”
- “Learning a new language will come in handy when I travel.”
- “This is so cool! My husband is going to love it as he has been thinking about learning Spanish.”
- “This is going to help me improve my English. I am new in Canada and have enrolled myself in adult ESL. It’s good to know that I am able to review my recorded voice during the role play. I want to hear how I speak English.” (translated from Mandarin)
Before we launched Livemocha, our old language learning software was seeing 100-200 visits per month. We launched Livemocha in July, and received 682 visits that month, and 2,131 in August, so we have definitely seen an increase in people involved in language learning!
Would you recommend Livemocha to other libraries and institutions? Why?
Yes, we would recommend it. It’s got a wide range of courses with many different levels available (at least for the active course); it can meet different learners’ needs, and, most importantly, it provides the opportunity to practice the language with native speakers, and receive feedback on the work they’ve done.
For a list of libraries where Livemocha is currently offered, click here.