Mayor Eric Garcetti at New Americans Center in Echo Park

Mayor Eric Garcetti attends ribbon cutting for New American Center in Echo Park

Echo Park -- Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday announced the city's seventh New Americans Center at the Echo Park Branch Library, which is part of an initiative to help guide immigrant Angelenos to earn U.S. citizenship.

"Los Angeles is a city of belonging and a place where immigrant families are sources of economic strength and cultural depth, and we are stronger when we do our part to welcome anyone ready and willing to accept the rights and responsibilities of citizenship," Garcetti said. "Our New Americans Initiative is making our public libraries into something more than institutions dedicated to the pursuit of learning and knowledge. They are becoming entry points to the American dream."

The New Americans Initiative was established last year.

According to the mayor's office, all of the initiative's programs are free to the public. Since its inception as the Path to Citizenship Program in 2012, the library system has conducted more than 6,960 service and citizenship workshops and has aided more than 65,627 applicants with the naturalization process.

"People need reassurance that their city stands behind them," said Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents a portion of Echo Park. "Libraries are an obvious location where we should give people the confidence to visit, receive services and know that they can do that in absolute safety."

Los Angeles Public Library is one of three systems in the country to have librarians accredited by the Department of Justice to offer citizenship assistance, according to the mayor's office. In addition to those services, New Americans Centers offer resources for learning English, information on tenant and worker rights, and workshops on topics like constitutional protections and financial literacy.

"We have helped more than 65,600 residents, and now our seventh New Americans Center will allow us to reach even more Angelenos," city librarian John Szabo said.

New Americans Center sign at Echo Park library

The Echo Park branch, located at 1410 W. Temple St., joins the Central Library, Benjamin Franklin, Junipero Serra, Pico-Koreatown, Pacoima and Wilmington branches in hosting a New Americans Center.

More information can be found at LAPL.org/newamericans or by calling 213-228-7390.

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