The Boston Public Library Announces Video Interpretation Services Now Available at All BPL Locations

New service ensures BPL offerings are available and accessible to all patrons

BOSTON, MA – June 27, 2023 - The Boston Public Library (BPL) today announced that video interpretation services are now available at all BPL locations through Certified Language International (CLI). This on-demand video remote interpretation service instantly connects visitors to ASL or spoken language interpreters, allowing patrons and library staff to have seamless interactions in over 200 languages. This service is offered in partnership with the Mayor’s Disabilities Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Language and Communications Access, and the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement.  

It will be used for walk-ins or for scheduled appointments with visitors who identify as Deaf or hard of hearing and use ASL, or those who identify as LOTE (speakers of a language other than English). The program utilizes designated Chromebooks located at all BPL locations. The service can also be used for staff-to-staff interactions where interpretation may help streamline internal communication. 

Providing video interpretation services fulfills the library’s promise to all patrons to provide free and accessible access to BPL resources, services, and staff. It is supported by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II; and Federal Executive Order 13166 (2000); all of which protect people from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or proficiency in English.  

“Our commitment to accessibility and equity translate into one more way we can remove barriers to access, to our collections, spaces, and programs at the Boston Public Library,” said David Leonard, BPL President. “Every visitor who walks through the front doors of a BPL location should enter knowing that the full breadth of BPL offerings is available to them. This video interpretation service is an essential step towards making that a reality, regardless of your primary spoken or written language.”   

To request video interpretation, patrons can simply enter any BPL location and visit the welcome desk, or ask a BPL staff member for assistance. Using designated Chromebooks, staff will be able to instantly connect to an interpreter in the visitor’s preferred language. Visitors will also be able to request video interpretation services for scheduled sessions with BPL’s career counselors, BPL’s social workers, financial literacy services, or those visiting the Special Collections department. More than 200 languages are available, including ASL, Arabic, Cantonese, Cape Verdean Creole, French, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and many others.  

“To make sure that we are best serving our patrons, we must always keep in mind the complex needs of immigrant communities and how they receive and respond to information about the services available in their neighborhood,” said Roudnie Célestin, BPL Equity Program Officer. “Language competency is already one of the BPL’s specialties through our ESOL offerings. This new service reinforces our dedication to meeting the existing and evolving needs of our patrons.” 

BPL offers a wide array of ESOL courses and resources for adult learners through its Community Learning Department. These programs are an essential community resource and are available online and in-person at multiple BPL locations. They are available at every level and in different classroom styles. For more information, contact the Literacy Services Department at or 617.859.2446. 

The City of Boston offers services and resources for ASL and LOTE speakers through the BPS Office of Interpretation and Translation, the BPL Office of Multicultural and Multilingual Education, the Mayor’s Disabilities Commission, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Advancement, and the Mayor’s Office of Language and Communications Access. To learn more visit