In 2016 the International Languages Department at Central Library hosted its first language class, the Spanish Lunchtime Conversation Class. A year later as demand grew, more language classes were added. We now offer classes in French, Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, Armenian, and Italian for free!
There are many benefits to learning a second language. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills. Increased communication skills are another advantage. The ability to connect with someone in their language is an incredible thing and can broaden one's view of the world. Language skills can also give you a business advantage and sets you apart from the competition in a tight job market.
We thought we'd share the stories of our language instructors and how they came to teach at the library.
Mishell Baker - Author, French instructor
- Mishell Baker is an accomplished novelist and a hobby linguist who started learning French for fun at the age of six. She has lived in Los Angeles for 19 years. French for Beginners class is on Mondays at 12:30 p.m.
French Language Resources
Julie - Librarian, Mandarin instructor
- Julie is an alumnus from University of Pittsburgh and East China Normal University. A native Chinese speaker, Julie is responsible for the Chinese collection development for the Los Angeles Public Library. Chinese for Beginners Level 1 and Level 2 is on Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. respectively.
Mandarin Language Resources
Nicholas - Librarian, Spanish instructor
- Nicholas is an alumnus from Claremont Graduate University and San Jose State University. Nicholas has worked as a Spanish instructor and also taught many courses about technology and computer programs. He has worked as both a teacher and tutor in the past. Spanish Conversation Class Level 1 and Level 2 is on Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. respectively.
Spanish Language Resources
David - Librarian, Russian and Armenian instructor
- David is an alumnus from Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educomplex in Yerevan, and has experience working with students in Hollywood High School as a Teacher Assistant. He has also interned in Moscow and Vienna, as well as volunteered for UNICEF and Mission East. Russian for Beginners Level 1 and Level 2 is on Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. respectively. Armenian for Beginner Level 1 and Level 2 is on Fridays at 11:30 a.m. and at 12:30 p.m. respectively.
Russian Language Resources, Armenian Language Rescources
Wendy - Librarian, Italian instructor
- Wendy grew up in a mostly Italian-American community on the east coast and, as such, has always felt a deep connection to Italian culture. After four years studying the language in school, she continues to practice speaking Italian with anyone, anywhere she hears it spoken, so leading the Italian Conversation Group at International Languages Department is one of her favorite things to do. She still makes grammatical mistakes, but the fun of speaking Italian with others is the main objective of the class. Italian Conversation Class is on the second Saturday of every month at 12:30 p.m.
Italian Language Resources
E-Language Learning Resources
Cell-Ed mobile program allows you to learn English anywhere, anytime, by using your cell phone. You need unlimited minutes and texting. It’s very easy and free for students.
Digitalia Public Library offers Spanish language e-books that can be read online or downloaded to devices, as well as language courses for Spanish, English, and "Quick Languages", a course in simple words and phrases in 12 languages. Also offers multimedia sections with art, music and PC instruction.
LearningExpress Library offers online interactive practice exams covering adult basic, academic, job related, civil service and more. Now includes ESL Spanish Basic Skills Course.
Mango Languages offers free, online language learning in languages that include Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Arabic, Korean, Russian, Tagalog, Greek, Latin and more. Mango has English language courses for speakers of 19 different languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Russian. Learn on the go with the Mango Mobile app for iPhone and Android.
Powerspeak Languages offers online language learning - Spanish, French, Mandarin Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, ESL Spanish, and ESL Mandarin - through a series of stories, activities and innovative learning tools. Create a free account. Speakers or headphones are necessary.