...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


Are you ready for some Fiestas Patrias? 'Cause they're coming...
SOL 65 Contents:

September 8, 2002
1. Low-cost education guides in Spanish
2. "Selecting Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Materials"
3. Baltimore library speaks fluent Everything
4. Six-figure grant sought for Spanish-language library services in Oregon
5. Also in the news: Bay Area library outreach

6. Library Journal sinks to new depths
7. Dangerous information gap: Latino laborers suffer negligence, job hazards



1. Early Childhood Education resources in Spanish

 From: Monica Kirby <mkirby@lib.NMSU.Edu>

I was doing some searching for a student today and went to the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) web page (I worked in Early Childhood Education for a while). The organization itself is well respected in the field. I was surprised (shouldn't be!) to find that they have a page of resources (their own and other links) in Spanish at 

Thanks,  Hope all is well with you,

Monica A. Kirby
Social Sciences/Outreach Librarian
New Mexico State University Library

[A wide variety of inexpensive Spanish-language brochures covering topics such as choosing a preschool, selecting toys, and developing parenting skills is at For a selection of videos in Spanish concerning the business and practice of childcare, as well as developmental activities for child-rearing, look at]

2. Handy selection guide on the Web

Of special interest to librarians like you is another link not far from the site above, one to the "Culturally & Linguistically Appropriate Service" page of the Early Childhood Research Institute: This one bids you a hearty welcome in 14 languages, along with an agile moving hand fingerspelling the word. Dig into the site and one of the treasures you'll find is a 1999 article entitled "Selecting Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Materials: Suggestions for Service Providers," by Rosa Milagros Santos and Debbie Reese (; it's also available in PDF for you acrobatic types).

A sample from the piece:

"Get to know as much as you can about the culture of the people you work with. Learn about their beliefs, values, and traditions. Are there specific accomplishments the family or community is proud of? What do they believe are the most important things their children should learn? Who are the members of their family and what are their roles?

How do they see their role as parents? Find out if there are elements of their culture they guard from outside eyes, discover why they are protective of them, and consider how this protection may affect intervention. Become familiar with their concerns about stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. What is their history with educational, health, and welfare institutions?

How do their experiences with these services affect their willingness to access services? Remember that answers to these questions may vary from one family to the next, depending on factors such as setting or income.

"The article also offers good suggestions about evaluating translations, choosing apt media, and other issues that make librarians' ears perk up.

3. Polyglossia @ yer library

The Baltimore Sun reports that the county library is suddenly able to assist speakers of 148 languages, "without adding a single staff member." What they did, you see, was to contract with Language Line Services of Monterey, CA for real-time telephone interpretation along with document translation. (The story appeared August 21 under the headline, "Library increases access to translation; Balto. County uses service to aid foreign-born patrons.")

4. Oregon libraries' Spanish-language outreach featured

Since our friend Steven at has a soft spot for this caliber of library-story headlines, we'll send him one from the Portland Oregonian: "Checking out Latino services" (SW Metro edition, August 23, 2001). LINK

Here are some bits from Henry Stern's article:

"Ask Washington County librarians about services for Latinos, and they'll tell you much more can be done.

"The county's Cooperative Library Services hopes to step up its efforts to draw in more Latinos with a two-year federal

grant totaling $143,200 that it's seeking through the Oregon State Library. The cooperative should learn the application's fate in October.

"Florian's [an avid library user] son is partial to books about dinosaurs and crocodiles; her daughter to 'The Cat in the Hat.' The mother likes books that help her improve her English.

"Florian takes her children each Friday morning to a Spanish-language story time that's been offered since January. Last Friday, her two children and five others leaned forward through the hourlong session conducted by Omar Vargas, who read books with a colors theme.

"Comparing a four-month period before the library got the grant in March 1999 with the same period a year later, circulation of Spanish-language materials increased eightfold, from 118 to 975 items. Nearly 300 library cards were issued to Spanish speakers.

"Carol Sibray, the library's youth services supervisor, said there are stories that give life to those statistical gains.

"Her library had almost nothing for Latinos before the grant, she said. After the grant, she tells this story: A Latino man came in searching for information in Spanish to give his wife, who was terrified by her first pregnancy. He not only got something for her in Spanish, he checked out a book that simplified the naturalization process."

5. That whacko Flaco

A San Francisco-area library's efforts to serve Spanish speakers was featured the very next day in the Alameda Journal ("Library's Spanish brings in new readers," Aug 24), and who d'ya think was star reporter Sasha Talcott's go-to guy for an off-the-wall quote or two? That's right; un humilde servidor, who said, among other things, that "A lot of libraries are way out of whack with the demographics of their neighborhoods."

Get the entire scoop, including a mention of SOL sister Araceli Quezada, at

6. As Mel Dewey twirls in his grave...

Yeah, yeah: that's your ol' friend Flaco, again, intruding on the hallowed pages of the current (Aug 15) issue of Library Journal. In "The Public Library of the Future," he and Kimberly Creighton spin out their fantasy of running 2011's Library of the Year, and naming it after a tasty steamed soybean snack.

7. Latinos, Spanish speakers face greatest workplace risks

What's your library doing to get Spanish-language occupational safety info into the hands of those who can use it? Turns out that the US Department of Labor finds "Latinos More Likely to Die on The Job, Spanish-Speaking Immigrants at Risk," and you can read the article bearing that title at

From the piece: "Safety experts said Latino immigrants, who often do not speak English and are pigeonholed into menial labor jobs, often receive less job-safety training than English-speaking workers do."

No kidding. But librarians know that many states furnish free publications in Spanish that at least touch on the basics of workplace safety, workers' rights, and other related topics. And, by golly, those librarians work like the dickens to make sure such brochures are readily available, right?


A segment of the Spanish-speaking workforce that is particulalry at risk of injury and exploitation would be those day laborers you've been hearing about. A page devoted to the library's potential role in their lives is at

8. Latino USA looks at AIDS; new magazine is out

Speaking of health and safety education, public radio's Latino USA devoted its Aug 31-Sept 6 program to "AIDS & the Latino community." What you'll hear, if you tap the audio feed at,

is that "Latinos continue to be infected at an alarmingly disproportionate rate," and "We [Latinos] are 20 or more years behind, in terms of general awareness."

By the way, AIDS Project Los Angeles has just launched a new Spanish-language AIDS publication called Impacto! Read about it at

9. Now, if they'd only serve some decent pumpkin empanadas...and maybe yerba mate...when will IHOP have pupusas?

Winchell's doughnut shops are serving up a version of the Salvadoran quesadilla, a sweet bread made with cream cheese, milk, eggs, and sesame seeds--following the lead of McDonald's, Wal*Mart, and public libraries coast to coast in offering products and promotion designed to appeal to Latin American customers. This article from La Opinión is in Spanish, so buen provecho.

10. Good guide to library services for Spanish speakers

We all know there's not exactly a glut of books available about what y'all are doing, but one of the good ones to come out recently is Library Service to Spanish Speaking Patrons: A Practical Guide, by Sharon Chickering Moller. It's published by Libraries Unlimited; the book's official site is at

and a more descriptive review is up on the

PLUS Reference Shelf, at

And folks, if you have something to add to that shelf, you know where to send it...

11. Slingin' Spanish on the stump

Janet Reno and Jeb Bush are already salting their campaign speeches with Spanish in order to court voters in Florida. No word yet on who has the most convincing Cuban accent, but the AP reports, in "Politicians Try to Learn Spanish,", that

" The political importance of Hispanics is growing, and so is the number of politicians learning Spanish to try to tap into that voting bloc. All over Capitol Hill, lawmakers are picking up audiotapes and textbooks to learn Spanish so they can use it to chat with voters, deliver speeches or give interviews to Spanish-language television, radio and newspapers..." Or, insult them. Why, only last week our President, while cotorreando with Vicente Fox, eloquently employed the language of Cervantes to...well, read it yourself: "Bush, Joking, Tells Media to 'Shut Up' in Spanish"

12. How come nobody nominated Andrés Calamaro?!

It's Latin Grammy time, kids. The big show is this Tuesday, September 11 at the fabulous Forum in Inglewood, CA.

You can view it live on the Web, and probably catch it on TV somewhere, too.

Not a bad idea if you're wondering which CDs your patrons are going to be wanting to check out. This year's bilingual yet cumbersome Latin Grammy website is at and it's nowhere near as good as the one Terra put up last year at

13. Grammy, Granma, whatever...

What, you hadn't heard that the aforementioned Grammy gala was moved out of Miami? And you don't know why?! You and your Cuban library users can pick up daily news and commentary from the island by visiting the website of AIN, the Agencia Cubana de Noticias. English at, Spanish at

14. Second Cuban library tour in the works

From: Susan Weber <>

2nd Library Tour of Cuba
February 04 - February 18 , 2002

The first Library Tour of Cuba last February was extremely successful. This second tour is being organized in  response  to demand.

Seeing is believing and the Cuban Government and Ministry of Education want you to see and experience the library and education services that are provided for its citizens and to enjoy the beauty of the island and the warmth of its people. You will have the opportunity to learn 'first hand' all about Cuban libraries as well as acquaint yourself with Cuban literature, culture, history.... and much more. 

Probably the main factors in making this an experience you will remember for life,  are the contacts and new friends you will make -- both with the other participants on the tour and your Cuban colleagues.  

New this year will be a visit to the Havana International Book Fair. France will be the Guest of Honour at this Fair, and the theme will be 'Reading means Growth'.  The fair will be held in the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, built in the 18th century. The building, set in extensive grounds, is one of the most beautiful cultural and tourist attractions in the Cuban capital--whose historic district, Habana Vieja, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You need not be a librarian to participate in the tour,  but a love of literature, learning, and books would certainly help! For more information, see the website:

Please direct inquiries to Susan Weber,

Testimonials from last trip can be found at:

Library Tour 2 - Feb. 4 - 18, 2002. Organized by Susan Weber, MLS & Joyce Holmes, Friendship Tours. 
emails: or
Tel:  Susan: (604) 876-6917 
Joyce:  (604)540-4848


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