Free English Classes for Adults

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The New York Public Library is here to help you improve your writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills in English. Whether you are starting to learn the language, getting better, or are advanced, you can sign up for online or in-person classes offered at libraries across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island—all free!

We Speak NYC English Conversation Classes

These classes are informal, conversational classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced English learners who want to sharpen their speaking and listening skills. Join us to watch exciting civic-focused videos, complete fun and interactive activities, have engaging discussions, and build community with English learners worldwide. These classes are taught by expert NYPL staff in support of We Speak NYC, New York City’s free supplemental English language learning program.

Some classes are in person at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library or other select library branches. No registration is required for in-person classes—just show up!

Some classes are online and require registration.  

See the full calendar of We Speak NYC classes to choose the ones that work best for you! Please note new conversation classes will start the week of April 29. 

Listings are labeled “IN PERSON” or “ONLINE” and are designated either beginner, intermediate, or advanced level. Note: adults who want an informal, conversational environment to practice English are also welcome to attend our citizenship preparation classes, regardless of your citizenship goals. See more on these offerings below.


Series-Based English Classes 

These classes last for 10 weeks and meet either one or two days per week. You must commit to two 10-week cycles. Classes are for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level students:

  • English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL): For non-native speakers who want to improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.
  • Basic Adult Education: For English speakers who want to improve their reading and writing.
  • English for Work: For intermediate and advanced English speakers looking for work or a career change.

How to Join

  1. You must attend an information session to schedule a placement test to assess your skills and knowledge.
  2. Complete the in-person registration process, where our expert staff will help you find the right class based on your skill level, availability, and preference (online or in-person class). You will receive more information about how to register for a class at your information session.

Information sessions begin on April 4, and classes for the spring session will meet from April 22–June 30.  Please ask at your local branch for the most current information regarding the spring cycle. 

Requirements and More Information

  • Classes are for ages 18 and above (please note children are not allowed at registration)
  • A six-month commitment is required to participate: you must complete two 10-week cycles
  • Participants must live, work, or study in New York City
  • Documentation is not required: everyone is welcome regardless of immigration or citizenship status
  • Space is limited


Citizenship Preparation and U.S. History

These classes support adults who are getting ready to become U.S. citizens within the next one to two years. They are also suitable for adult English language learners who want to improve their English skills by exploring American history and culture. Classes are for intermediate and advanced level learners. Registration is not required—just come to a class!

See our full calendar of citizenship preparation and U.S. history classes.

Upcoming Topics:

  • April 24, 26: The Declaration of Independence and the Colonial Period
  • May 1: Independence and the New American Government - 1775-1790
  • May 8: Maps and U.S. Geography
  • May 15: Understanding the N-400 Application Form - Part 1
  • May 22: U.S. Symbols, Holidays and Celebrations!
  • A new topic each week—more topics in June!

To learn more about how NYPL can support you during your naturalization process and help you prepare for the citizenship exam and interview, visit Citizenship Resources & Programs.


Multilingual Resources

The New York Public Library is here for you! At our 92 locations across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, we welcome speakers and readers of a wide range of languages. The Library is committed to helping everyone navigate our free services and resources for all ages. Get a library card, learn about Library offerings, search the catalog, and more. Explore multilingual resources


Patron Stories

Watch Raul Flores, a student in NYPL’s free ESOL classes, who is proud to say he has gone from knowing just a few basic English phrases, to being able to converse comfortably with other English speakers. 

Watch Juan Cordero, who immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic to build a better life for himself and his family. When one of his children gave him a flyer about free English classes at the Library, it opened up a whole new world of opportunities. Now, with the help of ESOL classes at NYPL’s Wakefield Library, Juan and his family are well on their way to achieving their dreams. 

Watch Becoming Americans, a short film about immigrant New Yorkers from across the globe who come to the Library to learn English and prepare for the U.S. citizenship test & interview.



Please note: Translated versions of this page were generated using automated translation. If you have feedback or questions about language accessibility at NYPL or would like to request an accommodation, please contact

These programs and initiatives are part of the Library’s overall commitment to our branch patrons and education programs, led by the Merryl and James Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education. Major support for educational programming is provided by Merryl H. and James S. Tisch.

Major support for the Library's adult literacy programs is provided by the City of New York; Lynne and Richard Pasculano; Arthur W. Koenig; The JPB Foundation; the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Title II funding administered through the New York State Education Department; and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Additional support provided by the New York State Library Coordinated Outreach Services Program; and an anonymous donor.