...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


As the sun sets on this strange summer of '01, it's time to open
the top of your supercharged convertible bibliobus, pop some King Chango into the tape deck, and cruise the blue info highway toward better days to come...

A big tip o' the SOL cachucha to Pedro
for item #4, important news about
Spanish-language health info on the Web

SOL 66 Contents:

September 21, 2001
  1. Spanish-language news about 9/11
  2. Question: Zeta Multimedia & CD-ROMs in Spanish
  3. Subcomandante Marcos-authored childrens' book on the Web
  4. Online health info: Problems with Spanish-language content
  5. Mexican migrant founds brilliant Web community


1. Spanish-language Web news of the recent events

Those looking for news in Spanish concerning the incidents of September 11 and their aftermath will find frequently updated special reports at and CNN's site; Yupi, too, serves up a section dedicated to these events: In addition, Spanish-language newspapers throughout the Americas are accessible via Tu Bibliotecario Electrónico at

2. Questions about CD-ROMS in Spanish

From: Linda Stiles-Taylor <
Subject: U.S. Distributor for Zeta Multimedia

Greetings Flaco-

Any chance that any of the SOListas have a clue as to how to purchase CD-ROMS in Spanish from Zeta Multimedia within the United States? Also any recommendations for other CD-Roms in Spanish?

Linda Stiles Taylor
Forest Grove City Library

3. El viejo Antonio goes digital

When the children's book penned by Subcomandante Marcos and illustrated by Domitila Domínguez, La historia de los colores [The Story of Colors] was to be published in a bilingual edition by Cinco Puntos Press, the National Endowment for the Arts in 1999 suddenly decided to deny the company a promised grant.

The happy ending was that the fine folks at the Lannan Foundation kicked in the long green to rescue this worthy project, and the gorgeous book was an instant hit. But when you think about all the trouble that went into getting the volume published in the US, it seems all the more wondrous that it's now freely accessible on the World Wide Web.

Guadalajara's Colectivo Callejero is the copyright holder, and Domínguez is one of that collective's leaders. They've done a spectacular job of mounting La historia de los colores in living color at

4. Health info on the Web: Special concerns for Spanish-speakers

From: Peter Sezzi

From the Executive Summary of a recent RAND California HealthCare Foundation study on evaluating the quality and accessibility of health information on the Internet. Find the complete report at

Key Findings:

Search engines are not efficient tools for locating health information on a particular health topic. Few searches lead to relevant health information. Consumers using search engines to find information in English have only a 1 in 5 chance of finding something relevant to their search.
Search engine results are even poorer for Spanish-language content, where consumers have only a 1 in 8 chance of finding relevant information.

Search engines take users to different places. No engine is clearly better than another, but where users start does matter. Indeed, different search engines rarely take users to the same site. If the lists of 10 Web sites identified by each of two different search engines were compared, only one of the sites would be on both lists.

Information on the Internet is commercialized. A substantial proportion of the information that Internet users are likely to find on Web sites is promotional--i.e., it sells products or services but is not clearly labeled as an advertisement. About half of the information located by English-language search engines is of this nature. For Spanish-language search engines, about one-fifth of the information is promotional.

Consumers often find incomplete answers to important questions; however, the information that is provided is generally accurate. The average English-language Web site lacked information about one in four of the topics that medical experts and consumer advocates thought were important to consumers.More than minimal coverage was available for only half of the topics.
Health information on Spanish-language sites was sparse and less consistently accurate. On these sites, half of the four health topics had no coverage at all, and more than minimal coverage was found for only one.
Nearly two-thirds of the English materials list an author and date.About half of the dated materials were updated within the past year. However, only one-sixth of the Spanish materials have dates and authors, and nearly half the materials have neither.

It is not uncommon for a Web site to contain conflicting information on a clinical topic. Coverage varied by topic. For example, breast cancer topics, especially breast cancer screening, were covered significantly more often than all other conditions on English Web sites. In contrast, topic areas related to childhood asthma and obesity were covered significantly less often than the other two conditions on English Web sites. Topics covered least often included symptoms suggestive of poorly controlled asthma and the safety and effectiveness of dietary supplements for treatment
of obesity.

Coverage also varied across Web sites. For example, among the English-language breast-cancer sites, provided more than minimal, and completely accurate, coverage significantly more often than the average. Five English-language sites (,,,, and provided at least minimal coverage for 70% of the breast cancer related topics for which we searched. Among the depression sites, performed significantly above average, and six English-language sites (,,,, and provided at least minimal coverage of 50% of the depression-related topics. No Web site performed statistically better than the average for either childhood asthma or obesity.

Most Web-based health information will be difficult for the average consumer to understand. According to recent health literacy studies, the majority of many health consumer populations cannot understand material written at a 9th grade reading level. This means that most health Web sites require reading skills beyond the abilities of many consumers, especially those underserved populations who are most in need of this information.
Half of the English-language materials are written at the college level, and all were at least a tenth-grade reading level. Forty percent of the Spanish-language materials are written at the college level, almost all were written at least a ninth-grade reading level.

5. If you lived in this virtual community, you'd be home now

Everyone talks about using the Web to build community, but JC López has really done something about it: is a marvelous, multifaceted site of, by, and for natives of a lovely part of the Mexican state of Michoacán--wherever they may be.

Former farm laborer López lives in Oxnard, CA where he now works with computers--and magnificent work he does. is a treasury of photos and videos, cultural data (there you'll learn that more US immigrants come from Michoacán than any other Mexican state), chat rooms, and even live online advice when Cruz is at the machine.

This popular site is a labor of love that presents a model for how technology can indeed build solidarity in the diaspora. Certainly michoacanos can soothe their homesickness here, but Spanish speakers of many backgrounds will likely find something of interest on López's site.

6. SOLista's library featured on NBC's Today Show

From: Arlene Sahraie <

Hi Bruce

Just wanted to let you know that The Fairview Public Library, Fairview, NJ (Bergen County) was featured on The Today Show, Saturday, September 1 on their "Visiones" segment.  They came to our library to highlight our Spanish language collection which we call "LIBROS @ Your Library" as well as outreach programs like our ESL Class and Bilingual Story Hour.

The segment was a good five minutes and we were thrilled to get this fabulous national recognition.

Thought you'd be happy to know.
Best Regards,

Arlene Sahraie, Director

Bruce Jensen < wrote back:
>Wow!  That's wonderful, Arlene!  Good for you guys! Can you tell more about this show?  This is NBC's "Weekend Today Show," right? Is the segment available somehow for viewing (I've been leafing through the MSNBC website but confess I'm being one clumsy searcher...)  or d'ya have any tips on getting + handling media attention?

Keep up your great work,

...and Arlene replied:
>>Hi Bruce...The person who contacted me is a producer for Today, Manny Santos. He's great. [Mr. Santos' email address available on request to]  "Visiones" is a short segment they run on Saturdays here in the east between 9:30 and 10a.m. and he says the segment airs in many markets nationally and internationally (Canada, Central and South America) but I don't know when... I don't always catch it although now it is my favorite segment.

If I can get a copy of our segment made, I'll mail it to you...

Just remember these people are always looking for news...try and sell/pitch an idea that they can envision on the air...gotta run...thanks for the kind words...later...Arlene

"If you didn't want them to think,
you shouldn't have given them library cards."

Line spoken by Elliott Gould as Harry Bailey in
"Getting Straight", written by Robert Kaufman, directed by Richard Rush

7. Website counsels Spanish-speaking travelers

The name says it all: "Me quiero ir" [loosely translated, I wanna get outta here!] A commercial site from Venezuela offers practical advice for aspiring émigrés hoping to work or study in countries such as Canada, Australia, Spain, Great Britain, and the US. Details on visa requirements, tips for getting scholarships, and an "am-I-really-ready-to-go?" test are among the features of this Spanish-language resource at

8. Multicultural storytelling: An online seminar

From: James Kelly []
Subject: Online event: Multicultural Storytelling, Oct 3-17

"Celebration or Cultural Larceny? An Online Discussion of Multicultural Storytelling," will be moderated by Dr. Gale Eaton, in conjunction with the University of Rhode Island's Annual Diversity Week. A web page to support discussion will be available at after October 3, and discussion will run on the LSCCPD list from Oct 3 to 17, 2001. The GSLIS Continuing Professional Development Program will present

Children's librarians, teachers, and others tell folk tales from around the world to help children know and appreciate diverse cultures (or just enjoy some marvelous stories). It's a celebration of multiculturalism -- isn't it?  Well, yes -- but. our online discussion will raise some of the sensitive issues (such as worries about the "multicultural tourism" approach or the misappropriation of cultural capital by outsider storytellers); offer suggestions for storytellers who do cross cultural boundaries; and highlight links to relevant  resources.

To join the discussion, register with Joan Mouradjian ( before or during the program  (October 3-17). You will be added to for the duration of this program only.

Gale Eaton, Associate Professor
University of Rhode Island
Graduate School of Library and Information Studies
Kingston, RI  02881
(401) 874-4651

9. Wine lingo in Spanish? You could look it up...

Although it doesn't quite measure up to the Anaya-Vox online dictionary at, another fine pile of words from Spain is certain to delight tipplers who like to wash down their lexicography with a bit of sangría. This offering from the Madrid daily El Mundo includes synonyms, antonyms, French/Spanish, English/Spanish, medical terms, and--no kidding--Spanish vintners' vocabulary. Find the good word at

10. KC inaugurates "Biblioteca de las Américas"

The Kansas City Star of September 10, 2001, ran a story called "Library with focus on Spanish opens today" by James Hart. It was a long time coming, but the Irene H. Ruiz Biblioteca de las Américas is now doing a brisk business. Spanish-language items comprise nearly one-third the collection of this million-dollar library.

Much as we'd like to furnish a URL that'd take you to the article, the KC Star doesn't want its information to be free. Fair enough; use your librarianly wiles to find this one if you'd like to read the piece.


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