A blog from the Ontario Library Service

“Ask Me” – Hamilton Public Library speaks your language

We’re pleased to repost an article from Hamilton Public Library about their “Ask Me” translation service, which offers help to customers in more than 180 languages!

Buttons for Hamilton Public Library's Ask me program

Demande-moi. Chiedimi. Frag Mich.

If Hamilton Public Library staff don’t speak your language, we’ll find someone who can, in a hurry.

Collectively, HPL staff fluently speak 21 languages, from Arabic to Italian to Punjabi. The blue and white Ask Me buttons these multi-lingual staff members wear let customers know there is an instant resource available on site.

And now, with the push of a few buttons on a phone, staff have easy access to translators of more than 180 languages off site, thanks to a recent partnership with Remote Interpretation Ontario (RIO).

Staff simply call RIO’s toll-free phone number and then key in the three first letters of the requested language to connect to an interpreter. A three-way phone feature also allows staff to help customers who call HPL requesting help. The translation service is available at each of HPL’s 22 branches.

“Library customers and residents of Hamilton now access information in their own language, on their own terms” says Shelley McKay, Manager of Communications at HPL. “The translation service contributes to the City of Hamilton’s mandate to be the best place to raise a child and age successfully. We’re happy to be a part of that.”

The Ask Me button and translation service rolled out in January.


Hamilton's Ask Me Program
Tony Del Monaco, HPL Director of Finance & Facilities, is happy to take your questions in Italian!