Tech Tip: Language Tools

Have you ever tried to learn another language other than English, such as Spanish, Chinese, French or German? If you said yes, there is a way for you to learn for FREE using the language databases provided through Houston Public Library, and all you need is a library card! If you don’t have one, sign one up at one of the libraries using the form here.

To get started, go to the HPL Homepage, click on the "Research" menu, as shown below.

Click on "Resources by Category" under the heading that says “Search Online Databases,” and select either the “Resources in Other Languages” or "Language Learning" category.

HPL has many books, audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, and online media and resources in languages such as Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Spanish and Vietnamese, to name a few.

Want to learn another language? We can help you find the right tool! Some of the helpful resources to learning languages include Mango Languages (library card required) and Livemocha (no library card required), which help you learn real, everyday conversations in multiple languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Arabic or, for non-English speakers, learn English.

Many of these languages have basic, intermediate or advanced levels based on your needs. All you need to do is create an account (you will need a library card in order to create an account).  Each of the lessons covers not only how to say something and how it is used grammatically, but more importantly, its cultural aspects as well.

Mango Languages: Uses conversational approach to teach practical, relevant content focused on vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and culture. Offers up to 65 languages.

Livemocha: Free online language learning with lessons, courses and other language-learning activities. Fun and effective language lessons are available in 35 languages.  

If needed, you can always repeat each of the lessons, whether you want to listen to an entire lesson or just a portion of the lesson again. Click on one of the links above to get started learning another language!

Sound confusing? Don’t worry; we have friendly librarians who are more than happy to help you out. Feel free to call us at 832-393-1313 or stop by one of the libraries and ask!  


Written by Alice W., Central Library

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