Foreign Language Learning & Education

Where are your foreign language learning materials?

Because our library materials are organized by topic, we don’t really have one language learning section, but there are still some ways that you can browse our collection. This guide will help you search the catalog and the stacks for your language learning needs.

Find Library Materials Using Subject Headings

Subject Headings are terms entered by librarians to organize materials by topic. If you are in the record of an item you want, click on a Subject to see more items that have been categorized using that heading.

subject headings example

If you know the Subject Heading you want to use, you can search for it in the catalog by searching for:

d:”[X] language” d:”subject term”

The d: limits your search to Subject Headings. For example, if you are searching for Japanese dictionaries, search for:

d:”Japanese language” d:”dictionaries”

Try out these other Subject Headings to find items that will help you with your foreign language learning:
d:”sound recordings for English speakers”
d:”conversation and phrase books”
d:”textbooks for foreign speakers”
d:”study and teaching”
d:"English speakers"

Children's & Youth Books

Children’s & Youth books are great for practicing reading comprehension skills in another language.

Browse our Youth collections online using the Advanced Search page. Use the Location drop-down menu to find Youth Collections and select the language you want. You can search by keyword, or if you want to look at all the Youth materials in your language, put an asterisk (*) in the search box:

sample search

Or, search using Subject Headings (see the box above for more information):

d:”children’s stories”
d:”juvenile literature”

Browse Items Using Call Numbers

You might notice similar call numbers in your search results:

search results example

Call numbers organized books by topic, which makes it really easy to browse. So if you find something you like, be sure to see what’s around it in the stacks. You might see something else you can use! Check out the Find Books page to get help locating your book.

If you want to browse foreign language dictionaries or literature, this guide will tell you what call number ranges to look at.

Subject Specialist

Janelle Hedstrom

Janelle Hedstrom 
Education Librarian


Meet: Request a consultation (available in person or via Adobe Connect)

Online Resources

Try out these mostly-free online resources for foreign language practice:

A fun, personalized, multi-media language learning tool and accompanying app. There are a number of languages you can start practicing for free. Connect with native speakers using Babbel-Community. Full access requires a paid subscription.
Need to practice your speaking and listening skills? Search for local meetups to find foreign language practice groups. Some are free, some require a small payment.

My Language Exchange
A language exchange allows two or more people who are learning a language practice on each other. Find a native speaker pen pal or use the chat rooms to practice your foreign language while helping others learn. Use the provided activities to guide you.

Free membership allows you access to online interactive courses and lessons and the abiliy to connect with other members to practice.

Practice your translation skills while helping to translate the web.

Instant Replay
A free online collection of beginning-level language learning videos and lessons, created for K-12 students. Practice your listening skills with very basic vocabulary.
See how real classrooms are teaching foreign language skills. Videos, lesson plans, and reflection to help you with class planning.

Austin Public Library

Austin Public Library has a great collection of popular language learning resources, including MangoPimsleur CDs and other software and audio resources.  Check out their Language Learning Resources page for more information.

To join Austin Public Library, bring proof of address to any branch during business hours.  While you're there, take the time to set up a pin number so you can use their large collection of ebooks/audiobooks and databases from home!

Need More Help?

Visit our Ask A Librarian page for information on getting help by phone, chat or e-mail. Or visit us in person. We can help you track down what you're looking for or recommend language learning materials.

Talk to a Subject Specialist. Subject Specialists are librarians who specialize in an area. We have a number of librarians who are knowledgeable about languages who can help you. Visit our Research by Subject page to get contact information for subject specialists, or click on the Research Guide button for more resources. 

subject specialist example