...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 62 Contents:

July 4, 2001
1. Staff guide to library Spanish now on the Web
2. More children's sites in Spanish
3. Biblioteca or librería?
4. Ethnic publishing in the US
5. Question: ID requirements for Spanish-speaking patrons

6. New book: "The Changing Culture of Libraries"
7. More on cataloging
8. Críticas is back
9. Trejo Foster Foundation Institute on Hispanic Library Education

1. Guide to Spanish for library staff goes online

The folks at MCLS, Southern California's huge library cooperative, still get calls asking for their 1990 booklet "Survival Spanish." It's out of print, but today it goes online, freely available to one and all. Thank your SOL sister Marie Kaneko for this one, and check out the guide at


2. Sites for Spanish-speaking kids

Three more fun ones, listed in order of Flaco's preference, are ("La internet segura para chicos," colorful, well-organized, with lots of links appropriate for the kiddies); (Yupi for kids, attractive and interactive); and (more commercial yet, fine if navigated carefully but one click away from surprisingly adult content).

In a class by herself, of course, is Flaco's girlfren' Mafalda, who awaits the pibes at the quatrilingual site of her creator, the great Argentine cartoonist Quino:


3. Bibliotecas vs. Librerías: Which side are you on?

From: Leah Griffith <>
Subject: SOL Question

I've been having some people from our local school district doing translating of library flyers for our joint summer reading program and they keep sending them back with our library name written out as  "Librería Pública de Newberg."  Are our school district people just confused and it should be "Biblioteca Pública de Newberg" or  is "Librería" starting to be used instead of "Biblioteca"?    What's the proper way to translate the name of a library?


Leah M. Griffith
Library Director
Newberg Public Library
503 E. Hancock St        Phone: 503-537-1256
Newberg,  OR  97132      Fax:  503-538-9720

[Flaco responds:]
Hey, Leah.  I love this question!

You are correct--it should be "biblioteca," case closed.

Interestingly, no, this isn't a new thing: in fact, if you go back a couple centuries it turns out that "librería" was, once upon a time, acceptable standard Spanish for "library." Not now, though.

As I think you suspect, the languages-in-contact phenomenon is what nowadays throws people off: those two 'L' words just plain look alike.  My grad training in linguistics makes me loath to prescribe or to call common usage 'incorrect,' but this is one of those clearcut cases where your translators need to crack open a dictionary if they aren't psychologically prepared to believe you on this.  Modern Spanish has a word for "bookstore" and a word for "library" and it doesn't serve anyone to mix those two up.

This whole thing might constitute a teachable moment--it sounds as if there may be confusion about the differences b/n libraries & bookstores...the most notable being that our places let folks take stuff home for free!

Marie Kaneko at the City of Commerce PL has written a bilingual flyer that explains the distinction nicely. You can find the original and a downloadable version, adaptable to your own biblioteca, at


4. Ethnic newspaper boom

A worthwhile story at concerns the booming pluricultural, multilingual press in the US, certainly a topic close to the hearts of librarians:

Sign of the Times: Ethnic Newspapers Proliferate, Grow Stronger

And while you're there, follow the links on Page One to some stories that may also be of interest to you:

What Content Is King With Spanish-Speaking Audiences

In Shifting Market, Networks Take A Page from Univision, Telemundo

Long-Term Latino Commitment: Reader's Digest Cashes in On Brand Equity


5. Your ideas needed: Registration requirements for Spanish speakers

From: Geri Gaskill <>
Subject: Hispanics and identification to prove residency for library card

Hi Bruce,

I was happy and encouraged to locate your PLUS/SOL site while doing research to implement library services to Hispanics in Horry County, S.C.  We recently have been the recipient of 2 LSTA grants to add Spanish-language books to our children's collection including Spanish-language software and laptops for outreach, provide materials in Spanish for Hispanic children and their parents in baby packets, and also to purchase a vehicle and fund a position for a bi-lingual (Spanish & English) storyteller.

The information on your sites has been most helpful in these areas, but we are still struggling with what to require to prove county residency for Hispanics to receive a library card.  What are some suggestions, since some Hispanics in our area may be illegal, some families may live communally with only one person's name on a utility bill (a traditional source of ID), some may not have checkbook with address, pay stub, etc.-- and what about women?! (most ID type things, i.e. utility bills, etc. are in thehusband's name).  We want to serve ALL in best way. Any ideas of what others are doing would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Geri Gaskill
Branch Coordinator
Horry County Memorial Library
Conway, S.C.  29526
Telephone 843-248-1545
FAX 843-248-1548


6. A book?! Where d'you plug it in?

My smart-alecky rants usually come at you electronically, free of charge, and clearly the price is right. A little paean I wrote to mighty Mexican librarian José Vasconcelos, though, is going to cost you, because I don't know if I even own the copyright. It's in a new book from McFarland, The Changing Culture of Libraries: How We Know Ourselves Through Our Libraries. The good part is that if you buy it you get a bunch of other essays, assembled by the estimable Renee Feinberg (you may recall her LJ piece, "B&N: The New College Library.") The book's site is at


7. Cataloging in Spanish, continued...

[SOL 61 mentioned "The Monolingual Cataloging Monolith" at and Monica passes along the following:]

From: Monica Kirby <mkirby@lib.NMSU.Edu>
Subject: cataloging in Spanish

Below I have copied a couple of lines from a report by a fellow librarian on staff here at NMSU - he is a cataloger and attended a meeting at ALA that included a report from Library of Congress - thought I'd send it along in case you didn't know this was coming.

>There is a list of new data elements being added to the MACR21 format at the Library of Congress's Cataloging and Policy >Support web page (  The MARC21 format is being translated and put on the WWW.  The >Spanish language version should be available "shortly."  If this encourages Latin American libraries to make more use of >MARC, their cataloging may be more directly usable on OCLC.

Monica A. Kirby
Social Sciences/Outreach Librarian
New Mexico State University Library
505-646-3079 l


8. Summer issue of Críticas

The second issue of Críticas: An English Speaker's Guide to the Latest Spanish-Language Titles is out. You need this new source of reviews and publishing industry news if you're involved with acquisition of Spanish-language items. You'll also need it if you want to win the contest in the next issue of SOL, so don't delay. SOL 60 tells you how to get a free copy.


9. See Ilan Stavans in Wisconsin

[As useful as Críticas is, you won't want to base your summer travel plans on page 13's listing of the REFORMA national conference in Tucson--that was sooo last year. However, a (truly) upcoming event might be of interest. This from the REFORMAnet listserv at]

From: Oralia Garza de Cortés
Subject: REFORMANET/Bridging Borders Conference for Librarians

Conference reminder

The Fifth National Trejo Foster Foundation Institute on Hispanic Library Education will be held July 21-22, 2001 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.This year's theme is Bridging Borders: Building Hispanic Library Education and Services in a Global Perspective. REFORMA is co-sponsoring the institute.

The keynote speaker will be Ilan Stavans, who is editor of the forthcoming Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. Concurrent sessions will be offered in three tracks: Library education and recruitment; Services to the Hispanic community; and Latin American and Spanish libraries and materials.

Information on speakers and sessions and a registration form are available at the Institute web site,

For more information, contact Jane Pearlmutter, director of continuing education, UW-Madison School of Library & Information Studies, 608-262-6398, email:



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