...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


Dr. Arnulfo Trejo, founder of REFORMA and the patron saint of library service to Spanish speakers (see item 8).  Here, the Profe chats with a new candidate for governor of Mass.

La Virgen de Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, is adored even by non-churchgoersLearn why in item 10.

SOL 70 Contents:

January 15, 2002
1.  New library websites in Spanish
7. Washington Post serves up bilingual content
Latin American political column is free on the Web
2.  Multnomah County innovates
Audio & video featured on Oregon system's new site
8. Arnulfo Trejo honored by ALA
Dean of  'Latino Librarianship' wins well-deserved recognition
3. Sports Books: Plug some titles, win a prize in another SOL contest! 9. Martín Gomez to lead San Francisco Public Library
4. ¡GOOL!
Soccer e-bulletin is a kick in the head
10. Virgin of Guadalupe
What's her universal appeal?
5.  Educational megasite
AldeaEducativa has something for learners of all ages
11. Most home buyers' names end in "-ez"
6. Gubernatorial Candidates to debate in Spanish
First time ever in US
12. Cuban book artistry comes to the US
  13. Gonzalo de Berceo
Medieval Spanish poet now in cyberspace

1. Libraries polish up Spanish-language websites

Library systems on both coasts unveiled sharp new sites last week.  We'll start in New Jersey with Ocean County Library (previously made famous by Rosie O'Donnell for its precision library cart drill team; see SOL 36):

From: Meagan Toohey 
Subject: Would you like to include our Spanish page?

Dear PLUS:
We saw your "Libraries With Sites in Spanish" page and were wondering if you would consider linking to us.

Please let us know if you think these links would help you? Here are the URL's.
Our main Spanish resources pageñol/español.htm
Our Spanish-language Web Tutorials
· An explanation of the Explorer toolbar:ñol/toolbar.htm
· A guide to IE:ñol/fullbrowser.htm
· A make-friends-with-your-mouse-'cause-it-won't bite tutorial:

There was no way not to steal this endearing yet troubling creature off the 'mousercize' page, above

2. Multnomah County Library's multimedia site

[While we're on the subject, a quick reminder is in order: Hal Bright maintains a frequently updated list of libraries with sites in Spanish at]

Making good use of a $45,000 LSTA grant to enhance its webspañol presence, Multnomah County Library has a fine new site for speakers of Spanish at offering straightforward organization and, check this out, actual talking heads to explain things to visitors.  "This feature," notes the staff, "boosts its accessibility for those with with low literacy levels or little or no experience using the Internet or the library."

The splashpage opens into a jumbo annotated webliography that distinguishes its English-language links from Spanish sites.  Separate sections, organized by subjects, target kids, teens, parents and teachers--and the splendid homework help resources are still there.

The "Español en la Biblioteca" section outlines Multnomah County Library's Spanish-language services.  Online forms enable readers of Spanish to register for a library card and suggest new materials for the collection.

To learn more about this exemplary project, visit
or contact Kristen McKee,

3. Contest! Sports books--what works for you?

Your friend Flaco is preparing a collection guide to Spanish-language books about sports.  Do these fly, leap, sprint, shoot, or triple-jump off the shelves of your library?  Suggest a list of a half-dozen or so of your recommended top picks with a few words about why folks like them, and you could be the winner of a $50 merchandise certificate from Pathfinder Press, source of top-notch reads in Spanish and in English, for the use of you or your library!  Enter by January 26.

4. Are you ready for some futbol?

Tell the soccer fanatics in your life that the weekly e-bulletin Golazo is theirs for the asking.  Published each Friday by Los Angeles newspaper La Opinión, it's a colorful and exciting roundup of US and worldwide soccer news.  You can choose between two styles--if you're interested, take a look at sample mockups of the HTML version and of the plain text version.

5. Aldea Educativa: Learning portal in Spanish

Today is Martin Luther King's birthday, of course, and if you want to learn about him from a Spanish-language source pay a visit to

Aldea Educativa is a gigantic educational site from Venezuela, packed to the rafters with everything from U.S. history to a detailed and interactive Periodic Table of Elements.

6. Texas' Spanish-language gubernatorial debates

Former Secretary of Energy and UN Ambassador Bill Richardson, running for governor of New Mexico, is talking to reporters in his mellifluous Spanish.  And right next door, the AP reported Friday that Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidates Dan Morales and Tony Sánchez will debate in Spanish on Telemundo, the first time major party candidates for state office in the US have ever done such a thing.  When former Texas governor Bush heard the news, he was so surprised that he nearly choked on a pretzel before Secret Service agents wrestled the rogue snack food to the ground.

Read about the upcoming debate at or

Terrifying new threats to Homeland Security?

7. Washington Post provides punditry in Spanish

Marcela Sánchez's weekly Washington Post column about Latin America,  "Desde Washington," is archived in twin English & Spanish versions since February 2001 and yours to read for free at

8. Arnulfo Trejo, living legend of librarianship

Every librarian who works for better Spanish-language services & collections owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Trejo. His career began a long time ago, with a book of ethnographic research about the language of prisoners in Mexico City and a stint as a librarian at UCLA, and he has since piled up accomplishments too numerous to mention but too important to ignore. Read how the ALA last year paid tribute to his continuing work, at and (where you can see Dr. Trejo talking with Robert Reich...speaking of gubernatorial candidates).

9. A good man steps into a tough job: Martin Gomez to head SFPL

Get the full story at

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 7, 2002 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Friends & Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library announced today that it has chosen Martin J. Gomez to lead the organization as its new Executive Director. The move marks a return to California for Gomez who has spent the bulk of his career at libraries throughout the state...

10. "Virgen morena, el pueblo te canta esta canción..."

James Garcia, editor and publisher of the political webzine American,  aired a commentary on NPR this month explaining why he, an agnostic, reveres the Virgin of Guadalupe.  Hear the three-minute audio file at  

11. Guess whose property taxes fund your library

Speaking of "García," that was the most common surname among home buyers in California in 2000, according to The Wall Street Journal (January 10, 2002: "Whites and Hispanics Fall Out Over Quest For Suburban Dream," pp. A1 &  A14).

Other names on the top-ten list of home buyers include López, Martínez, Hernández, Rodríguez, and González.

12.  Will the Next Big Thing be the 'Buena Vista Book Club'?

Rhonda L. Neugebauer, Latin American Studies bibliographer at UC-Riverside's Tomas Rivera Library, passes along news from The Chronicle of Higher Education (Jan 11, 2002) about a magnificent  book arts exhibit that's touring the Midwest this year.  Brilliant, luminous work made from scrounged materials on a bare-bones budget--see images and a curator's description at

"Wrapped Words: Handmade Books From Cuba's Ediciones Vigía," will be at Michigan State University's Kresge Art Museum through March 17.  The exhibition will move to the Minnesota Center for Book Arts from April 20 through May 31, Chicago's Harold Washington Library Center from June 29 through August 25, and the University of Kansas' Spencer Museum of Art from November 2 through December 15.

So, check it out if you're in the neighborhood.  Here's a bit from the Chronicle article: "People who visit Ediciones Vigía often bring supplies with them -- construction paper, colored pencils and pens, a computer ink cartridge -- aware that all of these will someday find their way into a book. One's experience of these books increases immeasurably with the knowledge that in a small workshop in Cuba, a group of committed, dedicated artists and writers has been successfully laboring for years to marry literature and the visual arts."

Rhonda, by the way, has assembled a mighty list of  "E-Resources for Latin American Studies" at  You can write to her at or

13. Gonzalo de Berceo

Literary scholars will be delighted to know that the complete works of 13th-century cleric Gonzalo de Berceo--the earliest Spanish poet whose name anybody knows--are up on the Web with a great deal of supplementary material, from critical studies to glosses and vocabulary.

We have Spaniard Pedro Benito Somalo to thank for this handsome site at

Berceo wrote in Castilian, which at the time was a low-prestige dialect, because he wanted his writing to reach everyday people (think of Chaucer, choosing that upstart vernacular English instead of fancy-pants français).

So, is castellano still a low-prestige dialect?  The unsettling "language of dishwashers," as a notorious knuckleheaded US politician said a few years ago?  You, as a librarian, have a pretty big impact on the answers to that question...

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