...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



Crudely fashioned artifact found on the
island after Kelly's & Rich's big fire

I don't know how these rumors get started:  Please rest assured that SOL subscribers will not be splitting into tribes, and that nobody is going to be "voted off the mailing list."  

One hundred and one years ago today in Buenos Aires, a little pibe by the name of Jorge Luís Borges burst into life.  He grew up with English as his first language, but what he later wrote in Spanish distinguished him as one of this world's most erudite, sophisticated, and astonishingly profound masters of literature. Borges was a municipal librarian from 1939 to 1946, but was fired after Perón came to power; the immortal author next went to work as a poultry inspector.  But in 1955 Perón was out and Borges was put in charge of Argentina's National Library. Three truly tremendous sites devoted to Borges and his works:  

August 26 marks the birth anniversary, in 1914, of another Argentine literary great, Julio Cortázar.  He was no fan of Evita's husband, either, and in fact turned down a chair at the University of of Buenos Aires because of it. It's said that Cortázar blew a mean trumpet, and we know he wielded a splendid pen:  
SOL 29 Contents:

August 24 , 2000
1. Center for Study of Books in Spanish for Chamacos
2. Ser Padres features books, reading
3. 'Librarians' Summit' at Latino Bookfest
4. Meet Vicki Novak of Phoenix, Arizona

5. Edutainment Site in Spanish Tracks Student Progress
6. Your Expertise Needed: Library Signage in Spanish
7. Mexico Update's Library Issue  



1. Center tracks youth literature in Spanish

Several SOListas have wondered about appropriate books and magazines in Spanish for kids of a given age.  A good resource to know about is the Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents, under the direction of Dr. Isabel Schon of California State University-San Marcos:  The Center maintains an indexed youth magazine listing at

2. Kids & books in Ser Padres
The Autumn 2000 issue of Ser Padres (Spanish-language twin of Parents magazine) has a couple articles of interest to librarians: a list of 30 favorite children's books ('Páginas con magia,' p. 42) and a piece on introducing kiddies to the joy of reading ('La lectura es un placer,' p. 26).


3. Librarians' summit at Latino Book & Family Festival

This year's Los Angeles version of the popular festival produced by Edward James Olmos features a "Librarians' Summit" this Saturday with some crucial discussion topics.  Lifted from the website at :

  • 12­12:30 p.m. Changing Latino Demographics: Changing demographics can impact libraries, their collections and activities?
  • 12:45­1:30 a.m. Finding and Purchasing Latino Books: Where are the best places to find and purchase books by, for and about Latinos for your library collection?
  • 1:45 -2:30 p.m. Marketing Trends and Library Programs and Services: How to increase the number of Latino patrons to your library. A look at collections, outreach and services.
  • 2:45 -3:30 p.m. Children¹s Literature Latino Style: The book industry is in love with books for children. Which books should you have for young Latino readers in your library collection? (Panel topics subject to change.)

Don't know if any of the proceedings will be transcribed and published, but we can hope.  

4. Meet Vicki Novak of Phoenix AZ
From: Vicki Novak
  The welcome message asked me to introduce myself, so here it goes. I am a librarian in the Adult Services department of the North Central Regional Library (part of the Maricopa County Library District) in Phoenix, Arizona. I've been selecting adult Spanish language books for about six years. I am not Latina, but I know a little Spanish since Spanish was my minor in college. It's been ten years since then, so I am not really fluent now, but what I do know comes in handy. I am interested in better ways to select
Spanish books and better ways for public libraries to serve our Spanish-speaking populations.

Vicki Novak
Adult Services
North Central Regional Library
Maricopa County Library District
17811 N. 32nd St.
Phoenix, AZ 85032-1201
Library web page:  

5. Educational site for kids, in Spanish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ is a flashy, colorful activity center designed to entertain kids ages 7 to 12 while reinforcing what the little tykes are learning in school.  Its educational games, some featuring familiar cartoon characters, are based on actual curricular content and adapt to the progress of registered players.  Parents who pay the $5/month registration fee are sent report cards detailing their child's progress.  


6. Help a Phoenix library fine-tune its signage

From: Vicki Novak
  I would like to place small signs on the front edges of the shelves in our adult Spanish collection to label the different sections. Would you mind taking a look at these terms to see if they are correct and understandable as written? Any suggestions?

Fiction - Ficción
Nonfiction - Libros de información
Reference - Libros de consulta
Nonfiction videos - Vídeos de información
Movies or fiction videos - Películas
Fiction Audiobooks (including CDs, not just tapes) - Libros auditivos (ficción)
Nonfiction Audiobooks - Libros auditivos (información)
Music - Música
Biography - Biografía
New books - Libros nuevos
Magazines - Revistas
Newspapers - Periódicos
English as a second language - Inglés como segundo idioma (isn't idioma one of the odd masculine words that end in -a?)
  Thank you!

7. Mexico Update in Library Juice
The August 16 Library Juice contains a reprint of last May's Mexico Update, with the theme of "Connecting Libraries With Mexico."  You'll find brief notes on locating book publishers and other types of businesses in Mexico, Mario Vargas Llosa, and the current state of Internet connectivity:
SOL: Spanish in Our Libraries
List Moderator: Bruce Jensen
SOL website:


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