...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 13   March 31, 2000

César Chávez Day

SOL is finally back from New Mexico and the tenth FORO Transfronterizo de Bibliotecas (, begging disculpas for the interruption.  Next year's FORO, in case you're interested (and I hope you are; this conference needs more public/prison/school librarians), will be held in Hermosillo, Sonora, where Flaco used to live & work.

SOL 13 Contents:


1. César Chávez, United Farm Workers co-founder

4. Spanish-language school supports Guatemalan libraries
2. How do you handle those "double" family names? 5. Searching for good teen 'zines in Spanish
3. Meet Elenita Tapawan, Gates Library Foundation, and help her with some questions

1. César Chávez, 1927-1993


Today is the birth anniversary of a man who was a leader and a reader, a humble hero who worked hard to educate himself and to share the power of his knowledge and humanity.  Read about a library recently named for him in Oregon, and follow the embedded links to learn more about a life rich in lessons for librarians and other community-builders of all kinds:


2. Uncertain Surnames in the Patron Database


 From: Margaret Thompson

Question: How does your library handle inputting Hispanic names in the patron database? The double last name makes it confusing for staff to know how to correctly input the name. For example, Carlos García Méndez fills out the form to get a library card and his name gets inputted "Carlos G Méndez", when in fact his last name is really either "García Méndez", or sometimes just "Garcia". But if I input "García Méndez" as the last name, and "Carlos" as the first, and later I go in to search for his name, it will appear on the list

screen to be, "García Méndez Carlos". So when the staff is used to seeing names like, "Thompson Margaret Cecile" or "Thompson Margaret C", it appears on this screen that his first name is "Méndez".

This might not be a big deal, and up until this point it hasn't caused problems, but since we have so many related people with similar names, all sharing PO Boxes and phone numbers, I fear as we grow there could be much confusion unless we streamline this. Suggestions? Could Americanized last-name hyphenation be the key?


Margaret Thompson
Teton County Library


3. Meet Elenita Tapawan of the Gates Foundation (she has questions for you)


From: Elenita Tapawan
Subject: greetings and questions

Hello SOListas,

My name is Elenita Tapawan. I work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (> as a traveling trainer for the U.S. Library Program. The U.S. Library Program is focused on closing the digital divide by granting public access computers/software/training to low-income areas in the United States. The program has been around for about 3 years, first starting in Alabama. We are now in our 13th state, California. One special equipment that some libraries are receiving is the Gates Library Spanish Computer. Outfitted with Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft Office in Spanish, and a handful of children's programs in Spanish, this computer has been well received by librarians and patrons alike.

The main reason for joining this list is to monitor discussions on two issues that are important to me: diversity and access. This list is a great forum for me to post questions to all the experts. I look forward to learning from all you SOListas.

I am ready to ask questions! I am currently working on a project that will enhance the content offered on the Spanish Computer. Specifically, I am gathering websites to add as favorites on Internet Explorer, and looking for software to load on the computer. The latter task is a challenge. I understand that it is difficult to purchase software in Spanish in the United States due to OS compatibility. I think this will change with the release of Windows 2000 and its feature to switch to other languages easily. Still, I imagine that

Most libraries are not using Windows 2000 yet.

My questions are:  which software companies produce software in Spanish either in the U.S. or overseas, and how easy is it to purchase software? Do any of the SOListas have Spanish software on their public access computers? To what extent are they being used?

To narrow my scope, I am looking for software that encourages lifelong learning: interactive books for children, reference programs, and ESL programs. Any of these software programs that are suitable in a public library setting and compatible with the security of Windows NT will be added to future renditions of the Spanish software. Essentially, the states we visit down the road will be granted more neat software.

Thanks for letting me post these questions. I look forward to any suggestions and referrals. Thanks - Elenita

Elenita M. Tapawan
On-site Training
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
office: 206.709.3401  cell: 206.310.8417


[Note from Flaco:  Elenita sent along this picture of her sparkling kitchen]


4. Study Spanish & Support Libraries, Simultaneously!


Subject: Spanish lang school in guatemala which helps libraries
From: Deborah Spector

Bruce, I thought that you might be interested in this link:

 It is a language school in Guatemala which uses part of the tuition to develop and support libraries there.  I don't know how they do it, as the tuition is extremely low.  But then again, so might be the cost of living. The FORO speaker from ALA's Int'l Relations office told me about this.  [Note: This would be Michael Dowling, ]

Hope you had a safe drive back and will see you soon!


5. Know Some Good Magazines for Teens?


Subject: Spanish Magazine for 5th-8th Grade Girls

From: Marge Fauver,

 We are looking for a magazine in Spanish for 5th - 8th grade girls.  Any suggestions?  So far we think Eres is too mature as is Teen People en Español, though it would be better than Eres.

Marge Fauver, Librarian
Eastside Branch, Santa Barbara Public Library
1102 E. Montecito Street,  Santa Barbara, CA 93103
Phone 805-963-3727, Fax 617-344-0433  (work)  (personal)

Bruce Jensen

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