Khurelbaatar and Erdentuya's first visit to Alicia Ashman Library was just over a year ago. The couple had recently moved to Madison from Mongolia and hoped to apply for asylum.
They were first greeted by one librarian who, having lived in Mongolia as a Peace Corps volunteer, offered up a traditional Mongolian greeting. The couple was pleasantly surprised to hear someone speaking their language, and staff were able to work with them to get the appropriate forms they would need to file.
Khurelbaatar and Erdentuya returned to the library a few months later, this time looking for information on how to get licensed for their business. With the help of Google translator and the city's translator phone line, they were once again on their way with the applications to move forward in the licensing process.
When they needed help promoting their new handyman business, they came back to the library. Librarians pointed them in the direction of Craigslist and some other job-finding/listing services. In no time at all, jobs were pouring in, and, on their next visit, they were in search of information about paying taxes on their income. Staff connected them to some legal and financial partners, as well as a translator, to get them set up with regular income tax payments.
With each trip to the library, Khurelbaatar and Erdentuya's questions for staff seemed to reflect their growing success.
Then Khurelbaatar and Erdentuya's newest problem wasn't much of a problem at all! "We have too much work!" They had been getting so many referrals that they couldn't manage it with their two-person operation and were seeking solutions to managing the workflow.
These days, the couple is taking classes and working to file paperwork that will allow them to upgrade their handyman business to a construction service (MGL Construction formerly MGL Handyman Service).
Library staff at Alicia Ashman are truly heartened by their success. Helping people feel safe and welcome goes a long way - and all of us at Madison Public Library are grateful for the opportunity to work together in supporting new members of our community.