We received an interesting brochure sent by the Lincoln Trail Libraries System this week about Poly Talk. Poly Talk is a grant project set up to connect librarians in Illinois with a network of foreign language interpreters. According to the brochure (and repeated on the website), one in five people in Illinois speaks a language other than English in the home. That means that there is a great need, and also a great pool of possible interpreters.
The project relies on volunteers and on libraries who register to use the service. Libraries will contact the interpreters without revealing to the client the contact information. If I understand the idea correctly, both the librarian and the client will be on the phone with the interpreter to negotiate the question and find ways to help the non-English speaking client.
The website explains more than the brochure.
I register for our library, agreeing to terms and conditions including confidentiality provisions. When the account is approved, I should be able to see the list of interpreters. The website reports that there are 75 speaking a total of 25 to date. That sounds like a good start.