...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



Un hombre sincero de donde crece la palma

Birthday cakes are in the SOLar oven (remember, folks, this is California, the Unplugged State) for two brave and well-traveled Cubans: José Martí was born in Havana January 28, 1853. By 1870 the teenaged revolutionary was already exiled. Read about the noble poet and rabble-rouser at (Spanish) and (English).


A Cuban spaceman

On the 29th, in 1942, Col. Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez was born in Guantánamo, destined to become the first Cuban in space--he flew on Soyuz 38.

SOL 49 Contents:

January 26 , 2001
1. Meet Patricia Bustamante, Houston Public Library
2. New guide published on Spanish-language library services
3. Know any good medical terminology websites?
4. Meet Jennifer Brock, of the "tiny, little" Liberty, TX Municipal Library
5. Free publications in Spanish!
6. Cuban documentary filmmaker wants to talk in your town


1. "A sense of community for our visitors": Meet Patricia Bustamante

From: Patricia Bustamante

Hola Flaco and SOL members,
My name is Patricia Bustamante and I am Acting Manager of the Video Department at the Houston Public Library. I am originally from Santiago, Chile and have lived in the US for almost 25 years. I obtained my MLS degree about 15 years ago from the University of South Carolina and have lived in Houston for the last 2.5 years.

The Houston Public Library at this time is faced with the daunting task of increasing library usage by the Hispanic community, which unofficially accounts for 40% of the city's population -it's probably larger-. I am currently co-chairing a committee whose primary concerns are to:

  • Determine what type of programs are of interest to the Hispanic population
  • Decide how to bring in and retain the Hispanic population as library users
  • Examine what has worked and has not worked at HPL in the past when serving this population
  • Analyze the data that has been accumulated for the past year, particularly in reference to the Carnegie Grant programming (2 year grant obtained by HPL to serve the Hispanic population)
  • Suggest and identify performers and updated sources of programming, etc that are available in the community and would be of interest to this particular population. 

What I see as our main problem is the lack of preparation within our staff to deal with and provide service to Hispanic users. I believe that collection development and programming will help to a point, but ultimately we must provide a sense of community for our visitors and make them feel comfortable and welcome... and that, at least in our system, is lacking.

A couple of days ago, as I was returning to my office, I overheard a young woman telling her child in Spanish that she was so disappointed that she could not find a certain book in Spanish for herself. I decide to approach her and ask what was she looking for and had she asked any of the librarians for assistance. From what I could determine, she had checked out some books for her child in the Children's room, then she had wandered around the library hoping to find the book by serendipity, and never felt comfortable enough to ask for help, nor was help offered. That scenario is probably repeated day after day in everyone of our locations and it is sad that we can't reach out in a consistent and effective manner.

Anyhow, I am glad to find this list and hope to find lots of ideas and suggestions here.

Name: patricia bustamante
E-mail: patricia bustamante <>

2. New book on serving Spanish speakers

[I haven't yet seen this one, so what follows is the publisher's blurb. Is anyone interested in sharing a review with us?]

Library Service to Spanish Speaking Patrons : A Practical Guide by Sharon Chickering Moller

Libraries Unlimited
2001 Pages: xix, 207 Size: 6x9
Paperback ISBN: 1-56308-719-7

[Blurb:] If your library serves a Latino population, you'll want this book. It will help you better serve the needs of Spanish speaking patrons of all ages. The author gives background information on various Hispanic groups, explaining some of the cultural differences that can lead to misunderstanding. She then offers a variety of program and collection building ideas. A list of distributors of Spanish language materialsbooks, periodicals, AV materials, computer and other educational resourcesis provided, as well as Web site addresses of Spanish language sites. Vocabulary lists for library and computer-related words and phrases and guidelines for correctly writing Spanish words are also included.

Author Sharon Chickering Moller is Director, Learning Resources Center, Colorado Mountain College, Timberline Campus, Leadville.

3. What's the #1 reason for Web use, according to Pew research group? Medical information...

From: Marta Peppin

Hola Flaco,
I was wondering if you (or anyone out there) know of any good sites for medical terms in Spanish.
I am aware of .
Please let me know and thanks.
Hasta luego,

[Important question! Flaco, a Hollywood resident, is of course partial to the plastic surgery Spanish glossary at . You might prefer the bilingual medical vocabulary at . Also available is an online index: you type the first letter (and ONLY the first letter) of the term you're seeking, and a list of terms and definitions appears: Others?]

4. Meet Jennifer Brock, Liberty, Texas

From: Jennifer Brock

Hullo, My name is Jennifer Brock and I'm the Adult Services Librarian in the tiny little Municipal Library in tiny little Liberty, TX.  Actually we have an impressive collection in relation to the size of our town...except for Spanish language titles.  We have no adult Spanish titles.  But, I'm about to change all that. I have found SOL to be an invaluable resource.  I have gotten more ideas than I could shake a stick at.  Anyway, keep up the good work, and if I have a burning question, I'll jump right in.   Gracias, Jennifer Brock

5. Sources galore of free government (and other) publications in Spanish

"This is a list of FREE consumer publications in Spanish. It includes nearly 250 federal consumer booklets on a variety of subjects such as food and nutrition, money, employment, federal benefits, children, housing, health, and much more. You may obtain all of these free booklets by writing to the distributing agency or calling its toll-free telephone number, if listed. You will find that information and ordering instructions on pages 13-16."

Social Security Administration:

Food & Drug Administration brochures, posters, and factsheets, many available online:

And be aware of the National Institutes of Health Spanish-language website:

Oregon's outstanding NW Regional Educational Laboratory, with guides for parents concerning reading and education:

  • Consejos para los Padres Sobre la Lectura—Ilustrando que nunca es muy temprano para "nutrir" a los lectores más jóvenes, este libro ofrece prácticas ideas que los padres pueden usar con los niños desde el nacimiento hasta la escuela secundaria para motivarlos y apoyarlos en la lectura. También se incluyen pautas sobre lo que los niños pueden normalmente hacer a ciertas edades y etapas del desarrollo de la lectura.
    • Serie: Aprendiendo a Través de la Vida—Las publicaciones de esta serie están designadas para ayudar a los padres para que trabajen con sus hijos en el hogar y proveen actividades de aprendizaje tanto para los estudiantes como para los padres. Cada folleto explora lo que es el aprendizaje a través de la vida, describe las habilidades y actitudes que requiere un "estudiante de por vida" y sugiere actividades para fomentar estas habilidades en el hogar y en la escuela. Los folletos de esta serie están diseñados de tal manera que reflejan el progreso del niño de un nivel educativo al siguiente. Los títulos de esta serie incluyen:

      1. Habilidades para el Aprendizaje a Través de la Vida: Consejos para los Padres de Niños de Preescolar y Kindergarten

      2. Habilidades para el Aprendizaje a Través de la Vida: Consejos para los Padres de Niños de Escuela Primaria

      3. Habilidades para el Aprendizaje a Través de la Vida: Consejos para los Padres de Alumnos de Secundaria ("Middle School," Grados 6 a 8)

      4. De Alumno de Secundaria (Grados 9-12) a Estudiante de Por Vida: Tu Ruta a la Independencia

    • Habilidades para Poder Sobrevivir en la Sociedad: Guía para Salir Avante por Uno Mismo—Es parte de la serie Conexiones: Vinculando Trabajo y Aprendizaje (Connections: Linking Work and Learning). Esta guía describe el aprendizaje basado en la comunidad que liga estudiantes con expertos locales para aprender, practicar y demostrar las habilidades esenciales para la vida adulta. La guía enfoca siete grupos de habilidades de la vida real (movilidad, vivienda, salud, independencia económica, auto conciencia, comunicación y participación en la comunidad) y sugiere miembros de la comunidad que pueden certificar que los estudiantes han demostrado competencia en una habilidad. (Disponible en otoño 1999.)

    Maestros en los distritos escolares de Portland y Salem en Oregon, ayudaron a NWREL en la traducción de estos productos, muchos de los cuales muestran actividades que los estudiantes pueden hacer con sus familiares y miembros de la comunidad fuera de la escuela. Las escuelas pueden usar estos materiales para trabajar con las familias hispanas y edificar relaciones de apoyo mutuo.

    También han sido traducidas al español algunas de las columnas para los padres del periódico mensual de NWREL "Let's Talk." Éstas han sido publicadas en El Hispanic News, un periódico que sirve a la comunidad hispanohablante del área metropolitana de Portland. Dos de estas columnas en español están disponibles en el Web site de NWREL, que también ofrece una versión en español de su "home page" y "navigation links" (conexiones para navegar) en español. La dirección del Web site de NWREL es, y las columnas del periódico "Let's Talk" están disponibles en

    6. Cuban filmmaker wants to speak at your library

    From: AfroCubaWeb Newsletter #9,

    AfroCuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando will be touring the US from March 15th through May 2001 to premiere the Spanish language version of her latest film, "Raices de Mi Corazón" ("Roots of My Heart"). This video deals for the first time ever with the 1912 massacre of over 6,000 members of the Independents of Color, a black political party formed by the veterans of the Cuban Wars of Independence.  The tour starts on March 15th in Dallas, Texas. Local booking dates are available starting March 20th.

    Gloria Rolando will also bring her other videos: "Oggun, Eyes of the Rainbow" (with Assata Shakur), "My Foosteps in Baragua," and "El Alacrán" (descriptions at

    Anyone interested in having Gloria give a talk and show her films, please contact


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