...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 75   June 3, 2002

If your library has prepared a written user survey in Spanish, Marian Partridge would love to talk to you.  Thanks!
Bookman watching public TV.  For more on where he lives, see item 3; for more on public TV, item 12
 SOL 75 Contents:


1. World Cup soccer sites

11. UNESCO library portal
2. Spanish versions of Star-Spangled Banner 12. La caja idiota has its good side
3. Children's book news in Spanish 13. Glossary of technology terminology
4. PLUS bookmarks en español 14. Questions about racial profiling
5. Library ID requirements for immigrants 15. Santa Paula, CA library's new Spanish-language website
6. Consulate promotes library classes

16. Flaco says to eat your veggies

7. How not to serve Latinos 17. Family guide to Internet safety for Spanish speakers
8. Bilingual LIS dictionary 18. La migra does it again!
9. Proposal to index sites for Spanish-language reference 19. Progressive library in Mexico City  needs help
10. Extensive list of search engines 20. The latest in Latin music

1. Our World Cup runneth over

Look, sports fans: if you're following the NBA playoffs or the Stanley Cup action SOL is sorry to say you're just hanging out in the kitchen while most of the rest of the planet is partying in the next room.  The World Cup began Friday, the most important event in the world's most popular sport, and it only happens once every four years.  

Do you know what this means?  Naw--if you were born in the USA, you probably don't have a clue.  But some of your Spanish-speaking library users can probably tell you.  And then you can return the favor by pointing them toward exciting websites that offer timely and thorough Spanish-language coverage of the Copa Mundial:  The Caracol TV network in Colombia has an excellent World Cup site--which tells you a little something about how Colombia feels about soccer, given that their squad is not even among the 32 gathered in Japan and Korea (uh, and in case it escaped your notice, paisano: the US national team is over there).  FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, might be corrupt to the core, but don't let that stop you from going to their website for the latest results plus a lot of World Cup history and lore as well.  The only drawback to Fútbol 365's flashy site is the way it tries to lure you into wagering your paycheck on the outcome of, say, the big Slovenia-Paraguay showdown.  The Los Angeles daily newspaper La Opinión has sent its crew across the sea to join the enormous worldwide press corps, and you can read their unabashedly Mexicentric coverage in ¡Golazo!   (Hey, El Tri's striker Cuauhtemoc "Temo" Blanco is one truly asombroso dude--just ask the Croatians...)  Our Spanish friend don Balón is there as well, of course.

Is there more?  Plenty.  Dozens of other Spanish-language sites devoted to soccer's biggest fiesta are listed on the special indices put together by Yupi and those clever Google dolls.  And let's not overlook the potential for events like this to ameliorate the human tendency to kick the air outta this big ol' ball we live on.  If the mundial sparks the curiosity of some of your Spanish-speaking users regarding the cultures of the host countries, you can get them started with stuff about Japan at and (with good content, but enough noisy pop-up ads to make you feel you're trapped in a pachinko parlor), and about Korea at  and 

2. The star-spangled bandera

From: "Phalbe Henriksen"
Subject: Spanish language "Star-Spangled Banner"

> Bruce,
> A question has come up on Stumpers I think maybe you can help with. A patron in someone's library is looking for Spanish >words to The Star-Spangled Banner. She says she's seen them before. Do you know where they can be found? Or, do you >have them?
> Thanks.
> Phalbe Henriksen, Director
> Bradford County Public Library
> Starke, FL

[To which Flaco, who on most days is readily stumpable, replied:]
Hi, Phalbe!  Listen, how about, like, four or five versions, all sanctioned by the US Department of State, together with audio?

What a fun question--Flag Day's coming up June 14 (or is every day Flag Day now?)   

3. Imaginaria, a children's book wonderland on the Web

Our good buddy Henrik Rehbinder tipped us off to Imaginaria, a fantastic biweekly webzine, in Spanish, about children's literature.  It comes out of Argentina, and you can sign up for its electronic mailing list to stay abreast of a wealth of resources about kids, learning, books, and libraries.  Reviews, publication news, events--it's all here.

And valuable links?  A recent issue of Imaginaria had this one:

La guía para bibliotecarios ¿Cómo acercar a los chicos a la biblioteca?, en Internet

Desde los primeros días de mayo de 2002 —y en buena medida por la demanda que generó su difusión en Imaginaria (ver en la sección "Publicaciones", en\07\4\guia.htm)—, el Grupo Editorial Santillana decidió publicar la guía para bibliotecarios ¿Cómo acercar a los chicos a la biblioteca? en la página web de Alfaguara Infantil y Juvenil (

4. Bookmarks in Spanish yours for the printing

The first set of Spanish-language bookmarks is available from PLUS.  These aren't the kind of "bookmarks" that reside in your Web browser, kids--they're real bookmarks.  Ones you stick between the pages of, y'know, a book...)

The lettering of some of the bookmarks will look garbled on your screen, but don't worry.  When you print the thing or plant it in an image editor, you'll find that the file is all there.

We're eager to hear your criticisms and your suggestions for other bookmarks.  Let us know what we can do to make these easier to work with, and we'll do everything we can to improve the offerings and the presentation.

5. Los Angeles library honors Mexican consular IDs

The issue of identification requirements for aspiring cardholders is of special concern to librarians serving immigrants.  Why, Flaco even knows of one big city whose (mostly Latino) residents must prove they've lived there six or eight weeks before the library will let them borrow anything.  

But check out what Los Angeles Public Library recently decided to do:  LAPL accepts, all by itself, the Certificado de Matrícula Consular issued by the Mexican government.  More and more financial institutions and other agencies are happy with it, too, enabling hardworking undocumented residents to bypass some of the ID traps that previously prevented or discouraged them from opening bank accounts.  I mean, what's a person supposed to do when the INS, oops, shreds his file?

The LAPL policy is explained in English at and in Spanish at 

6. Mexican government promotes library classes in Seattle

For another example of library-consular cooperation, have a look at the publicity for Ana Álvarez's library computer classes put out by the Mexican Consulate in Seattle:

7. As if you haven't read enough of this guy's crap already...

Sheesh!  Not only do we tell you, in item #16, to eat your vegetables--we also have the gall to encourage you to expose yourself to still more venom from Flaco's poison pen, this in the current issue of the provocative webzine OC Latino.  The story's called Libraries for Latinos?  Not in Santa Ana: A half-editorial, half-reporting, all reading report.  You be the judge.

8. Spanish-English library lingo glossary

From: Dana Lubow

Here is a bilingual glossary of library terminology that I believe is a little more extensive than the one you have posted on your site:

Dana Lubow

LA Valley College Library

9. ¿How about a Spanish-language LII?

The amazing Dana Lubow has contributed a total of nearly 1,200 listings to the Librarian's Index to the Internet, and she floats the idea of initiating a similar reference-librarian-oriented indexing project for Spanish-language sites.  A big job, but someone ought to do it...LII is of course a well-oiled machine that relies on the work of some 130 crack volunteer indexers.  Contact Dana directly if you're interested in participating.

Cruising the LII for sites dealing with the Spanish language or having something, anything to do with Spanish turns up some very interesting stuff worth knowing about, by the way.

10. DMOZ is awesome; TBE remedies some omissions, visits Sweden

The fine netizens of the DMOZ Open Directory Project, hard at work voluntarily cataloging the Web even as you sleep, have compiled some terrific indices of Spanish-language sites: 

One of the tools they've indexed is SOL's introductory netguide, Tu Bibliotecario Electrónico, which recently added some new resources (those of you wondering why there were no boricua  nor catracho newspapers on there can finally breathe a little easier) and is honored to have a place on some of your libraries' websites.  Your library, as well as that of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala.  (It's a raza thing, folks...hard to explain...same reason your Mr. Jensen was overjoyed when the Danish side thumped Uruguay a couple days ago...)

11. More international news: PLUS gets in on this rampant globalization thing

From: Joie Springer 
Subject: UNESCO Libraries Portal

> I am pleased to inform you that the UNESCO Libraries Portal now has over 10,000 links including (PLUS: Public Libraries Using Spanish).
> We are in the process of modifying the presentation as well as verifying all links and invite your comments.
> Best wishes.
> Joie Springer

12. Reach for the remote

Public Television is going wild over us, gang.  You know how Barbara Kingsolver says in her new book of essays that TV is like a faucet that delivers five percent clean water and 95% sludge?  (Or, in the case of Charlie Rose,  95% Coke...)   Gregory Nava's artful series on PBS, American Family, mostly passes right through Flaco's filtration system, and the PBS station in St. Louis, KETC, has thoughtfully included SOL on its site for the show.  Check your local listings and give a vistazo to this born-in-East-L.A. drama.  It'll be an hour well spent, honest--though I'll confess that for a reasoned, trenchant critical take on the series you should read Gustavo Arellano's recent analysis.

13. Web language, computers, and libaries in La Op

How about a Spanish-language glossary of Internet terminology?  Surfear straight over to for one put together by the Technology staff at La Opinión.

And while you're at it, see an article about Mexican libraries in this morning's edition of that paper.  Primarily about the latest GLF gift to the public library system, the story also touches on such topics as per capita book purchases in Mexico, and the number of public libraries in the country.  I'll bet you don't know either figure...

14. But, umm...isn't the connection between "language use" and "race" kind of like the one between "horoscope sign" and "shoe size"?  Just asking.

From: Margaret Thompson
Subject: Racial profiling

Hi all,
I am wondering if anyone can give me some insight to the question/problem of racial profiling in the library. We take many statistics on various circulation, reference, computer, and other services we offer to show our progress and substantiate needs for new staff (as I'm sure most of you do too). Since we started our Latino Outreach program two years ago, I've been asked to quantify how our Latino patronage has grown with increased services, collections, and bilingual staff. This has been challenging considering the potential for profiling ethnicity, which is obviously not a good idea!

I have been doing a few things though, which have been helpful to us, though some people are still concerned with legality/appropriateness of our system. Any insight on how you do, or not do, statistics regarding your Latino patrons would be helpful.

what we do:
1. Tally program attendance for Spanish events/classes: no problem here; we do that with every other event. If non-Latinos are at the program, they get
counted too, though there usually aren't many since the program/class is in Spanish.

2. Count Spanish library card applications: We have two separate forms, English and Spanish, for library cards. Since the majority of our Latino patrons are monolingual in Spanish and get this form, this catches most of them. I report the number of cards monthly.

3. Public desks tally number of times "A Spanish-speaking/bilingual staff member would have been helpful in assisting a patron". The emphasis here is on language spoken/communication barriers

What I'd like to do:
There is a space in our borrower registration system to mark a "Language". I'd like to denote "Spanish" here, but there are concerns that this crosses the line into racial profiling, though I don't see the difference between this and marking the "Spanish would have been helpful" tallies at public desks that I mentioned above.

Any suggestions or similar concerns? I'd love to know what you think of our current system as well as other ideas to be able to see what effect our programming is having on actually bringing Latinos in to use our services.


Margaret Thompson
Latino Outreach Coordinator
Teton County Library
PO Box 1629
Jackson, WY 83001
(307) 733-2164 x112

15. Blanchard/Santa Paula Library unveils Spanish-language website

Santa Paula, California has a wonderful library, under the guiding hand of Director Daniel Robles who began working there as a teenager.  The lovely little town's residents are about 70% Latino according to the 2000 census.

Last month Dan got together with web wizard José López to revamp the library's bilingual website.  Look for the link, prominently in the upper-left corner, to a terrific array of Spanish-language library news, information, and useful content

16. More nagging about health

It's been a while since we reminded you about healthy living.  Flaco wants you feeling good and strong, so finish your vegetables.  Instead of oily sauces, top them with public health research findings that trickle in from time to time suggesting that higher rates of certain illnesses in minority communities might have more to do with insufficient health information and treatment than with commonly blamed genetic factors.

And don't forget, while you're munching those tasty greens, that the US Department of Health and Human Services serves up a Spanish-language Healthfinder portal at

17. Parental guide to Internet safety available in Spanish

If you know some Spanish speakers who are dubious about the heaping helpings of junkfood for thought served on the Internet and are thus a little reluctant to turn their kids loose there, consider referring them to the US Department of Education's family guide to the Internet.  EL INTERNET: Una Guia para Padres de Familia is up at and in lavish PDF at

18. INS discovers innovative new way to waste people's time

When they're not busy with their usual chores of hassling hard-working campesinos or mailing visas to 9/11 hijackers, the crack agents of your Immigration and Naturalization Service are hard at work destroying still-pending papers and files.  Read about that in, among other places, the May 12 Sacramento Bee and then think about doing what you can to make news such as this--which can profoundly affect thousands of people--available to immigrants in your community.

19. Biblioteca Social Reconstruir seeks help

If you're looking for a deserving, financially-strapped, utterly singular and noble little library to support--and hey, who isn't--please do consider the Biblioteca Social Reconstruir in Mexico City, founded 22 years ago by the legendary Catalonian, Ricardo Mestre, who operated the place on a shoestring until he died in 1997 while creeping up on his 91st birthday.  It's one of those bookstore/library/cultural centers where people get together because it offers books you can't find anywhere else, and where important ideas gel and are nurtured.  It's in a tight spot right now, trying to come up with what it takes to pay the rent and keep the lights on.

All this was reported a couple weeks back in the Mexican newspaper La Jornada.  The library's website is at and they get their email at 

When visiting the old capital, stop in at Morelos #45, Despacho 206, Colonia Centro, México D.F.  and if you want to send a card or letter, address it to:  Apartado Postal 9090,  México 06002 D.F.  They do have a phone, too, at least for the time being: (52-55) 5512-0886.

20. Keep a song in your heart, and a bunch more in your library

It's springtime, primavera;  the very word sounds like music.  Former habitual library patron Juanes has a new disk out and did a sweet duet with Nelly Furtado at the Alma awards on Saturday night.  There's been some good writing  in Spanish about alterlatina music in the magazine al borde, launched a few months ago in LA and making an ambitious bid to become the mouthpiece of a movement.  Yes, they sell subscriptions.    

Writing in English as well as Spanish, the entertaining and ever-contentious Enrique Lopetegui is one of this hemisphere's most knowledgeable and influential exponents of rock en español.  Some recent pieces spotlight Ska dudes La Vela Puerca (want a translation of that festive name?  Read the article) and the divine Miss Julieta Venegas.    (If you want to know even more about Venegas, you can read about her in Spanish, too.)     The prolific Lopetegui has written for scads of publications, including the website that is paying increasing heed to songs sung in what the Texas Tornadoes called the lovin' tongue.   

Gustavo Arellano, aforementioned astute cultural commentator, has more than thirty-three and a third brilliant articles about music, ranging from Los Tigres del Norte to the Hip Hop Hoodios, Latino punk and narcocorridos.

Finally, you ought to know by now that Flaco can rarely mention music in SOL without broaching the topic of El Vez.  He was featured a couple weeks back at, get a load of this, Hispanic magazine's website, which pointed readers toward a couple vintage articles about the legendary bossman of the Memphis Mariachis.

Bruce Jensen

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