The Littleton Immigrant Resources Center has its roots in the 2004 Littleton Leadership Retreat. During that retreat, more than 70 Littleton residents gathered to learn about the large number of people from different cultures who were moving into the community, and discuss how establish residents could reach out to these newcomers.
After the retreat, a group of volunteers received a year-long planning grant from The Colorado Trust, a private grant-making foundation dedicated to advancing the health and well-being of the people of Colorado. The group became known as the "Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative," or LI3.
The volunteers spent the year talking with new and establish residents, to learn what would make this community a place where newcomers are welcomed. In a series of "community conversations," Littleton residents shared what they value about Littleton: excellent schools, low crime rate, extraordinary recreational opportunities, and beautiful parks and walking trails. In addition, the immigrants noted that they would like more information about work, housing, transportation, recreation and other daily activities. They wanted to feel more a part of the community's cultural and civic activities.
In 2005 LI3, was selected to receive four years of funding from The Colorado Trust. A one-stop information center, managed by the Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative (LI3) and housed at Bemis Public Library, was established and a full-time coordinator was hired. The Health and Wellness Program was also established to assist low-income people gain access to medical, dental and mental health care.
In 2009, the City of Littleton and the Littleton Immigrant Integration Initiative received the E Pluribus Unum grant of $50,000 in order to continue to serve the community. That same year, when the original funding from the Colorado Trust ended, the City of Littleton assumed responsibility for this program and the Littleton Immigrant Resources Center (LIRC) officially became part of the City of Littleton and Bemis Public Library. The governance of the program was transferred to the City Manager and City Council.
In 2012, LIRC received the Citizenship and Integration Grant from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This grant has allowed LIRC to expand its citizenship education by offering small group classes and employ additional personnel to provide lawful permanent residents with legal assistance during the naturalization application process. In 2014, USCIS renewed the Citizenship and Integration Grant, extending funding to LIRC for two additional years.
In 2015, LIRC and Bemis Library was awarded the Smart investing@your library® Grant. LIRC and Bemis Library was one of 21 public libraries nationwide chosen through a competitive process to win a grant from the American Library Association (ALA) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation. With the funding, Bemis Library’s Littleton Immigrant Resources Center (LIRC) will provide immigrant families residing in the south Denver metropolitan area, with support and instruction on how to manage money in their newly adopted country. The program will combine financial literacy classes with individualized mentoring. The classroom modules will cover budgeting 101, credit fundamentals and understanding the U.S. banking system. Learning will be integrated into the library’s English as a Second Language for Financial Success program and other citizenship services.