...una biblioteca es un gabinete mágico en el cual hay muchos espíritus hechizados. Despiertan cuando los llamamos; mientras no abrimos un libro, ese libro, literalmente, es un volumen, es una cosa entre las cosas.      - Emerson

Public Libraries Using Spanish


SOL 12   March 16, 2000

Cesar Vallejo, Peruvian poet, was born this date in 1892.  Pay him a birthday visit at


I will be leaving this weekend for the Cross-Border Library Forum, so if you have some questions or requests that could be handled by librarians from Mexico, send them along!  Don't be shocked if the SOL doesn't come out Monday, though--I'll be somewhere on old Route 66. --Flaco


SOL 12 Contents:


1. How to get La Jornada

3. Staffing suggestions
2. Margaret's three other questions revisited 4. NRR report on Mexican hometown clubs in the US


1. A major Mexican newspaper at your fingertips


The previous issue had a question about subscribing to La Jornada (Mexico City).  It is available electronically, on la Gran Telaraña Mundial:

If you wish to write to the newspaper regarding their online service, try, or snail mail/phone/fax:

     La Jornada, Coordinación de Sistemas
     Balderas 68, Col. Centro
     México D.F. C.P. 06050
     Teléfono (525) 728-29-00, FAX (525) 521-27-63 


2. Three collection development questions


[These interesting queries came at the end of a rather long mailing last issue.  They're being repeated here in hopes you'll have some thoughts to offer:]

From: Margaret Thompson

1. What literacy materials are the most popular with your patrons? 

We need more really basic, beginner-level self-study materials since most patrons requesting these materials have very few English skills. I have a hundred different catalogs with thousands of materials. It's impossible toknow what is really good from catalogs! Within our Hispanic community wehave quite a spectrum of educational levels from low or no literacy in Spanish to college degree intellectuals needing to improve English skills.

Quite a challenge for small library!

2. How should the materials be classified and shelved so to provide ease of use for patrons and staff assisting patrons? 

(Do you recommend, for example, that tutorial materials be kept separate from self-study materials?  Would you mark materials according to level: beginner, intermediate, advanced?  Should multimedia materials be handled separately?)

3. I'm researching how to effectively add Spanish subject tracings to our state-shared online catalog for Spanish and English literacy materials sopatrons can locate materials with general Spanish keywords that aren't found in the title. Anyone else doing this from scratch? I can get Spanish subject headings from Oakland's extensive database, but would like input on the whole process if anyone has any.


3. Spanish-speaking staffing: Community involvement


From: Margaret Thompson

Spanish-speaking staff:  this is a concern we struggle with here. We just completed a Strategic Planning process over the past four months in which the entire community was involved in helping us set our vision and goals for the next five years. With this community effort through focus groups and planning committees, we have created eight visions for 2005, one being, "The library as an entryway into the community for Hispanic people that provides access to bilingual information and programming". Using this community support, I have proposed a new position for the budget, that of full-time Hispanic Outreach Coordinator (my current position allows only about 25% of my time for this work). Because the community had so much input here, the County Commissioners (I hope) have every reason support the addition. Involving public opinion in staffing concerns can provide necessary "fodder" for increased staffing where it is needed!


4. NPR report on Mexican hometown clubs


If you're set up with RealAudio, you can hear this Morning Edition story (Monday, Mar. 13), about the accomplishments of Mexican community organizations.  Is there a role at your library for such civic-minded activists?

"Rebuilding Mexican Towns (7:49)-- Edie Rubinowitz reports that groups of Mexican immigrants are doing more than just sending money to relatives back home: they're pooling their resources to make improvements to the towns they left behind. Hometown Clubs are helping to build roads and drainage systems. Some hometown residents criticize the quality of the building projects... but towns who don't have hometown clubs wish they did. "

Bruce Jensen

Previous Page
What's new
Contact us
Anti-copyright 2002 Not-for-profit use encouraged All other rights reserved.