...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 31 Contents:

September 5, 2000
1. Translation assistance offered
2. Online survey on Spanish-language cataloguing
3. Staffers studying Spanish; placement of Spanish collection

4. PLUS site ready
5. Kids' books galore at




1. Here's help with translating library terminology
From: Cecilia Avilés

[English translation, with additional notes, follows]

Hi, Bruce. Esta es una respuesta para el mejor uso del español en las

En el caso del sistema de clasificación DEWEY, existe una traducción al
español muy vieja, es la 5ed., ya no sirve para basarse en ella para
clasificar, pero si para conocer la traducción de la terminología
bibliotecaria.Para casos particulares les ofrezco mi ayuda para la
traducción al español.

Como por ejemplo para lo que señala Tere sobre "audiocintas", el término
usado para los formatos que sirven para escuchar libros es AUDIOLIBROS,
reference books es LIBROS DE CONSULTA, o bien, OBRAS DE CONSULTA.En el caso
del término BESTSELLER, en los diccionarios de español aparece como tal,
"bestseller=libros de mucho éxito y gran venta en un momento determinado"
(Diccionario Kapelusz de la lengua española). Así es que es un anglisismo
que se usa sin ninguna traducción, como existen muchos otros términos en
todos los idiomas, no sólo en español. Sobre todo con el desarrollo de la
tecnología hay términos que se usan tal cual, sin traducción, pero hay que
tener cuidado en no caer en el extremo de distorsionar el idioma. Hay que
consultar los diccionarios :-)

En el caso del término "westerns", quien habla español entiende lo que es,
sólo que en este caso si hay una traducción al español que es "vaqueros".
VIETNAMESE, en español se dice "vietnamita."

Deseo haya sido de utilidad mi respuesta, estoy a sus órdenes para aclarar
dudas con el idioma español, además de bibiliotecaria, también estudié

Reciban un cordial saludo!
Cecilia Avilés
Dir. Centro de Información
CETYS Universidad
Campus Mexicali
[Translation of Cecilia's message:]
This is in response to the recent postings [SOL 29 & 30] concerning the best
use of Spanish in libraries for shelf labels and the like.

There is a Spanish translation of the Dewey Decimal System.  It's pretty old
though, fifth edition, so while it's not much use for cataloguing it is
handy as a general guide to translating categories.  [See also for a Spanish rendering of the
principal classes.]  I'm happy to offer all of you my help in translating
specific items.

Books on tape, for example, which Teresa's library calls "audiocintas,"  are
known in standard Spanish as "audiolibros."  Reference books are "libros de
or "obras de consulta."  [Teresa did acknowledge that some of the
terms they use in Gainesville were chosen to accommodate locally spoken
dialects and to familiarize users with English cognates such as
'reference.' ]  As for "bestseller," the word does appear in Spanish
dictionaries.  It's a borrowing from English that's used here without need
of a translation, just like a lot of other words that have slid from one
language to another through popular usage.  Technological jargon in
particular has many terms that are used and spelled just as they are in
their language of origin, but in any case it is always important to exercise
caution so as not to twist the other language.  You've got to check your

As for "Westerns," Spanish speakers will know what that means, but there is
a proper Spanish translation, "Vaqueros."  "Vietnamese" translates into
Spanish as "vietnamita." [Adjective/noun that ends in 'a' regardless of

I hope this response is helpful.  I'm glad to assist with any questions you
may have about the Spanish language.  Besides being a librarian, I studied
language &  literature.

[OCLC, by the way, would love to sell you a translation.  The following is
from their site: "A Spanish translation of the Edition 21 is expected to be
published in October 2000. The Spanish translation of DDC: A Practical
Guide, published in 1996, is still available. In the United States and
Canada, these titles may be ordered from OCLC Forest Press."]

2. Groundbreaking online survey needs your input & insight
From: Prudence Cendoma,

Hi ~ Hola!

I am a graduate student enrolled full-time in the Library and Information
Science program at the University of Pittsburgh interested in Spanish
language subject headings. There has been very little library literature
published on this topic. I've been working on a related project and need
your help. I've posted a research survey on the web at:

If you would, please take a few minutes to complete the form. I apologize
for the length of the survey, but I'm trying to cover a lot of ground. Since
all of the fields are optional, responses to any of the questions are
greatly appreciated!

Thank you ~ Muchas gracias!

Also:  How was the conference? Did you happen to attend the meeting about
Spanish subject headings? I'm trying to find information about the
discussion. I'd appreciate any insight.

Prudence Cendoma,
MLIS candidate / Spanish Cataloger

3. Spanish for staffers, and the "comfort zone" thing
From: Teresa Pacheco

Hi - Welcome to new Solistas. I'd like to comment about a couple of things
on today's letter from Amy [SOL 30]. First, here at Hall County Library in
Gainesville, we have so many new immigrants that every agency in town is
literally begging for bilingual staff members, mostly Spanish speaking, but
Vietnamese is also needed. At the library, several staff members have asked
for wordlists each week to help them learn some Spanish, so each week I
think up some things that I hope will be useful and send it out. We have
about 16 people participating. I'd love to do a before-work class for 8
weeks like y'all did. Do you have lesson plans in print, and are they freely
available or copyrighted?

Next - about the "comfort zone". That's something that was difficult for us
to figure out also. When we first started buying Spanish or bilingual
materials, a corner was set aside for this collection beside the literacy
materials. I never liked it, first of all, because it seemed like we were
trying to hide the users, and secondly because with no signage (if you can
believe that!) patrons could not find the materials. We have a much more
progressive library board now, and administration has allocated a
significant amount of space on the second floor beside the other adult
materials for the Spanish collection, and the first bookshelf on the first
floor at the entrance to children's materials for juvenile books. Now that
both areas are more visible, have tables and chairs, and so on, our patrons
have begun using the library much more. It's wonderful! We also have
internet access in Spanish and English on all internet stations, and we
provide bookmarks and other materials for the users in Spanish. Please visit
our website and offer suggestions for

Sorry to go on soooo long, but would be glad to share ideas, bookmarks,
whatever, with anyone who needs it - this forum is great! Thanks, Flaco.

Teresa Pacheco
Computer Services Asst.
Hall County Library
127 Main St., NW
Gainesville, GA 30501

4. PLUS site up & runnin'
Cecilia's offer [Item #1, above] is tremendously generous.  As a matter of
fact, Flaco has already taken her up on it!  She ironed some of the kinks
out of the pathfinder at
so stop by again soon.  And please do check out the revamped PLUS: Public
Libraries Using Spanish site at


5. Children's bookstore with a darned cute name
From: Alicia Fremont

I am a new subscriber to the list. I own and manage a Spanish online
bookstore for children called We serve a community of
parents, teachers and librarians in the US and Canada raising and/or
educating children in Spanish. Our goals are to provide a wide range of
materials at affordable prices to assist our community in their efforts to
maintain or learn the Spanish language. We also focus on culture and
particularly feature traditional nursery rhymes and folktales from Latin

I hope to learn from other subscribers about new resources of Spanish
materials and contribute whenever I can.
I am presently on a quest to find magazines and/or comics appropriate for
children ages 3-6. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Warmest regards,

Alicia Fremont
Spanish books for children...and their  parents.
Libros para niños...y sus padres.


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