Friday, December 19, 2008

SLO report from Dillon

Dillon City Library Final Spanish Language Outreach Grant Report

Although Dillon has completed spending the money given to us through the Spanish Language Outreach Grant, our involvement with area Hispanics has just begun! We hope to acquire more Spanish language materials to support the community and to make our Library relevant to their lives.

DCL posted signs regarding the availability of the grant money in our three Spanish restaurants in town – they are the places in town where Hispanics gather and frequent. We also took every opportunity we had in the Library to speak with our Hispanic users to see how they would like us to spend the grant money. Some of the early requests were for bilingual children’s books (picture books). We immediately purchased ten new bilingual titles. Moms have been very appreciative, so we will continue adding these books as our budget allows.

Though far from a complete or methodically sound canvass, we did get a considerable amount of information in response to our postings. The number one request of the respondents was for material to help them learn to speak better English. In response to this request, the Library purchased the Rosetta Stone software for learning English as a second language. The cost of the software was more than the grant money, but after discussing the matter at a Board meeting, we decided that we really needed to respond to their stated need if we wanted to become a relevant place for them to frequent.

Unfortunately, we cannot lend the software; it must be used in the Library at a library computer. Since all of our computers are in public spaces, talking out loud to practice speaking is not an ideal situation. In response to publicity, a Chinese family in town is also using this software. It is gratifying to know that we can provide useful materials and services to our immigrant populations, Hispanic or otherwise!

We completed translating our computer parental consent form. There was a $25.00 charge for having this form translated. Most of the current Hispanic youth had already obtained their parental consent forms, so I imagine it will be next summer when new migrant workers arrive in the area before we will be able to utilize the forms. When I presented the form to our Board of Trustees, one of the Board members, Michael Riley, informed us that he is fluent in Spanish and would be more than happy to begin translating our other brochures. So, for no extra money we will soon have all of our library brochures and forms translated into Spanish.

The Spanish Language Outreach Grant has definitely provided a jump-start for the Library to become a place that will better serve the minorities in our community.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

North Valley Fiesta Hispana Photos

Our first Fiesta Hispana was a huge success and we plan to hold another in Sept. 2009.
We made many new friends, many of whom we continue to communicate through our weekly and monthly conversation gatherings. Here are some photos of our Fiesta event. You will see how much fun we had with the Latin dance instructions!

Friday, November 28, 2008

SLO newsletter from WJ - November issue

Does everyone receive the free bi-monthly electronic publication produced by WebJunction, Spanish Language Outreach Program Update? To subscribe, go to and enter your email address in the subscription box. You can also find current and past issues at:

Below is information from the latest issue including details about a December 9th webinar on bilingual learners, templates of training materials used in Oklahoma for Spanish-speaking patrons, and a few facts from WJ's upcoming final report to the Gates Foundation.

Spanish Language Outreach Update
November 2008

Upcoming Webinar: Libraries and the Bilingual Child Increasingly, public policy dictates that learning instruction for all bilingual learners be conducted in English. Yet 10.4 million children or 20% of all students ages 5-17 speak a Language Other Than English (LOTE) at home. How can librarians honor and respect parents' efforts to keep the home language alive while their child acquires a second language, and why does this matter? Join us for an informative webinar on this topic presented by Latino Children's Literacy Consultant, Oralia Garza de Cortes. Ms. Cortez is a leading voice for bilingual and multicultural children's literature and literacy, as well as for quality library services for Latino children and families. Webinar participants will gain an understanding of what the research says about how children acquire a second language. Additionally, we will explore ways that libraries can support the bilingual child and his/her family through programs and services that best meet their needs during this critical learning process. Webinar Details: December 9th, 12:00 - 1:00 PM Central Time Register here:

Featured Resource Siga Adelante: As part of WebJunction's Spanish Language Outreach Program the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) created a series of workshops for Spanish-speaking patrons. Templates ( for all the workshop topics (health, citizenship, family literacy, employment, finance, and community/culture)are now available on WebJunction. For more information about Siga Adelante view the archive ( of the February 2007 webinar about the project.

Spanish Language Outreach Program Impact and Future: The workshop delivery phase of the Spanish Language Outreach (SLO) Program is nearing its official end date. Over the next eighteen months, WebJunction plans to nuture and build the SLO Online Community of Practice ( on WebJunction. We are currently writing the final evaluation report detailing the outcomes and impact of SLO program - a three year grant program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to train library staff across the country to do better outreach to Spanish speakers. The full evaluation report will be available next month. Here is a sneak preview of some of highlights:
* 79% of workshop participants indicated they have implemented new outreach activities or plan to do so in the next six months.
* 5,472 library staff members trained.
* 376 workshops delivered in 36 states across the country
* 158 trainers and coordinators participated in the project and can now serve as subject matter experts in their states.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Year into Outreach at the Bozeman Public Library

We have just had our last Outreach to Latinos Committee Meeting at the Bozeman Public Library and sent the Montana State Library our Project Final Report for the SLO Grant. I'll go ahead and share it with you here:

October 29, 2008

Gates Spanish Language Outreach (SLO) Grant Project Final Report

In October of 2007, the Bozeman Public Library (BPL) held an in-service day and staff participated in the first Connecting to Spanish Speakers @ Your Library Workshop put on by State Trainers Kathy Robins and Catherine McMullen, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and in partnership between Web Junction and the Montana State Library. As a direct result of that training an Outreach to Latinos Committee (OLC) was formed by staff at the BPL to set goals, plan, and provide services and outreach directed specifically to Latinos in the Gallatin County. The OLC was to meet regularly for a year.

In that time much work has been done in order to make the BPL a more welcoming place and make information and services more accessible to Spanish speakers. The Welcome brochure and library card application have been translated into Spanish. Staff that speak Spanish have been identified and many wear “Hablo Español” (I speak Spanish) nametags. The adult Spanish language collection has been increased threefold and a practical non-fiction Spanish language collection has been developed. The children’s Spanish language collection and audio language learning materials have also been expanded as well. The self-check machine has a Spanish language option. A special Dia de los Niños, Dia de los Libros/Day of the Children, Day of the Book storytime was held in which guest storyteller Leslie McCleary, owner of Llama Llama Books read fairytales in both Spanish and English and than gave each child a bilingual fairy tale book. A bilingual storytime has also been held once a month with guest storytellers Barbara Komlos from The Language Center and students from the Montana State University geared toward preschoolers and their families. The Friends of the Bozeman Public Library donates a box of children’s books to the Gallatin County Food Bank with bilingual flyers, invitations to the library, and information about children’s programs for families. Two outreach events were held at the Gallatin Community Clinic that has a large number of Spanish speaking patients. We talked to fifty people about resources at the library: signing people up for library cards, registering people to vote, and giving out books. Finally the BPL has established a strong presence in the Coalition of Resource Organizations (CORO) a local group striving to “reduce stigma, facilitate dialogue and bridge better community understanding of the changing ethnic and cultural make-up” of the Gallatin Valley. We have been able to work in partnership with many service organizations within CORO.

The Bozeman Public Library is grateful for the additional funding from the SLO Grant Project to accomplish the goal of reaching out to Spanish speakers in our community. With this funding we have been able to:

Print flyers and postcards promoting our monthly Bilingual Storytime.
Print half sheet “invitations” to the library providing information about resources geared toward Spanish speakers distributed at the Gallatin Community Clinic and Gallatin County Food Bank.
Library’s “Welcome Brochure” was translated into Spanish by The Language Center.
$500 expended toward over $1000 of English language audio CDs from Pimsleur (English for Spanish speakers at Beginning, Intermediate, and High Intermediate levels (six parts)).

We have included a sample of the Bilingual Storytime flyer, library invitation, library card application, and Welcome Brochure.

Today when a Spanish speaker visits the Bozeman Public Library we are able to welcome them and provide resources to them in their native language. Spanish speaking staff is easily identified; the library card application and Welcome Brochure providing important information about the library are available in Spanish. We have materials in Spanish on parenting, health, immigration, religion, and other useful topics in our Foreign Language section labeled “libros en español” and have invested in English language learning tools for Spanish speakers. The BPL also makes an effort, working in partnership with other service organizations to reach out to Spanish speakers in the community and bring new patrons into the library. In part, because of both training and additional funding from the Gates Spanish Language Outreach Project the Bozeman Public Library has materials, resources, and increased staff awareness of the needs of Spanish speakers in our service population. The Bozeman Public Library has built a strong foundation from which to welcome our growing Latino community.

We would be happy to share any of our materials or experiences with other Montana libraries looking to better serve Latinos in their communities. Catherine McMullen can be contacted at or (406)582-2402 with any questions.

Thank you,

Catherine McMullen
Outreach to Latinos Committee Chair
Bozeman Public Library

Webinar on November 18th

Here is an announcement from WJ about an upcoming webinar:

Latinos and Public Library Perceptions

In Webinar

When: Tuesday November 18th, 2008 - 12:00 PM
Where: WebJunction at Central Time
WebJunction, in partnership with the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, recently published a research report detailing the results of a six-state telephone survey of over 2,860 adult Latinos completed in early 2008. Learn about the findings and implications of the study from WebJunction's Laura Staley and researchers from TRPI.

Monday, October 20, 2008

new book

Hi -- Just wanted to let you know about a new book. This information came from an email the author sent out. Maybe everyone from the SLO workshops received it?? The author is Branch Manager in the Las Vegas - Clark county Library District in Nevada. -- Sue

Crash Course in Serving Spanish-Speakers, by Salvador Avila.
Libraries Unlimited, November 2008.

The book represents another step in the evolution of rendering library services to Spanish-speakers which highlights best practices, relevant and responsive services and programs, and reframes our approaches to this segment of the population. Providing services to Spanish speakers is both an honor and a challenge. Before public institutions venture into reaching out to the Spanish speaking community, they need to become familiar with their cultural competency so that their decisions and initiatives are not at risk.

ISBN13: 9781591587132; ISBN10: 1591587131; $30.00 $24.00 Due: November 2008
SPECIAL 20% EVENT DISCOUNT (when ordering mention code F238). Offer expires 12/15/08. Librariers Unlimited: call 1-800-225-5800; fax: 1-603-431-2214; online: or

Friday, October 3, 2008

SLO activities

First, thanks to Kathy and Amy for posting the great activities going on at their libraries for Hispanic Heritage Month. It is such fun to read what you have planned and how it is being received in the community.

The Belgrade Community Library has used their SLO grant money. The library added 25+ new Spanish/bilingual children's books, including some classic fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White. They've been trying to get the word out about these new books, too. Also added to the collection is a CD on English for Spanish speakers.

WJ report and upcoming webinar

From WebJunction:

Latinos and Public Library Perceptions Report now available.

In partnership with TRPI, WebJunction surveyed more than 2,860 Latinos about their library use and perceptions of libraries. The results indicate that 54% percent of the Latino population visited libraries in the past year, and that Latinos hold positive perceptions of libraries. Read the findings, download the survey tool, or register for the October 14 webinar with the authors of the report.

Go to Report Findings:

Register for webinar:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

North Valley SLO September Update

Sept. 5th NVPL (North Valley Public Library) held a very successful SLO event "Fiesta Hispana" with over 139 people in attendance, including 27 Hispanics. Latin food, music and dances were all included. Spanish library materials were on display throughout the library. Tours were given to those new to the library. So far, there has been 3 meetings of the SLO Advisory Group and plans are underway to hold ESL (English as Second Language) classes beginning the first of October. NVPL has purchased numerous Spanish materials including books written in Spanish and Spanish music CDs. Library informational brochures have been translated into Spanish and printed. The SLO Advisory Group advised against NVPL purchase of online Hispanic newspapers at this time. The Group suggested assistance with establishing an email address and guidance with driver's license exams as well as facilitating ESL classes. Ongoing assistance with Internet searches was another request. NVPL will continue to work with the SLO Advisory Group and to do our best to meet the ongoing needs of the growing Latino community in Ravalli County.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Month

So, what is planned around the state for Hispanic Heritage Month?

At Parmly Billings Library, we will once again have weekly Spanish language movies. This is something we do every year and it is well-received.

We are also going to have a Spanish language story time each week. We've done this in the past as well. I think many of the kids who come will be English speakers, but they love it!

One thing that is new this year, is a book discussion group in Spanish. This is associated with The Big Read. The book is the Spanish language version of "The Call of the Wild." It is "La Llamada De La Nuturaleza." The facilitator is a lady from Panama who spoke at the Billings SLO workshop. She told me that she misses reading books in Spanish and is very excited to participate.

We are also having a book discussion on the book, "Bless Me Ultima." The book and discussion are in English. This will be a little bit of Hispanic culture education in our community.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Upcoming webinars at WJ

WebJunction is offering two free webinars that might be of interest for serving your Spanish-speaking patrons. One is on the new naturalization test and one presents the results of the telephone survey done with Latinos this year. For details, go to

Teaching The Redesigned (New) Naturalization Test Webinar
When: Thursday September 25th, 2008 - 01:00 PM
Where: WebJunction at Central Time
This webinar will provide an overview of the redesigned (new) naturalization test, which will replace the current test on October 1, 2008. Join Dr. Michael Jones, Senior Advisor Immigrant Education, and Carlos Muñoz-Acevedo, Outreach Specialist, of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as they cover the necessary skills and instructional methods needed by those who are preparing students to take the redesigned (new) naturalization test.

Latinos and Public Library Perceptions Webinar
When: Tuesday October 14th, 2008 - 12:00 PM
Where: WebJunction at Central Time
WebJunction, in partnership with the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, recently publised a research report detailing the results of a six-state telephone survey of over 2,860 adult Latinos completed in early 2008. Learn about the findings and implications of the study from WebJunction's Laura Staley and researchers from TRPI.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Update for North Valley Public Library

Plans are under way for "Fiesta Hispana" to be held in conjunction with Sept. First Friday celebration on Main Street Stevensville. Latino music will be played while library patrons sample both Spanish and Mexican food and peruse the growing collection of Spanish materials. Although not yet confirmed, a couple may perform a samba dance routine.
The translation of the most important or most frequently used forms is almost complete. We hope to have this finished and printed for the "Fiesta Hispana."
Two instructors have been selected and four students engaged for the 4 week pilot ESL program which will begin Sept. 14th. The purchase of Spanish materials has begun! We are really enjoying shopping for these items. Cataloguing is underway, as well.
The book "Serving Latino Communities" has been a terrific resource.
More after our fiesta!

Friday, August 22, 2008

This notice was just on wired-mt:

Washington Learning Systems has posted the SPANISH VERSION of parent-child early literacy materials titled "On the Go," developed by Dr. Angela Notari-Syverson and colleagues as part of a US DOE grant.

These materials include 14 activities designed to be used outside the home: in the car, while walking, during bus rides, etc. The activities are designed to encourage parents to interact with their children to encourage early language and literacy development (from birth through preschool) and positive parent-child interactions. Included are hints about how to modify each activity to meet specific developmental needs of the child. The activities are appropriate for children with disabilities as well as children who are developing typically.

To download materials go to and click on the purple button that says "Free Parent Education Handouts" on the home page. Look for the "On the Go" files to download the materials in PDF format.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Colet Bartow from OPI posted a message on wired about Hispanc Heritage materials that are available on the website. It includes activities, cultural quiz, music, biographies, timelines, etc. that can be used to get kids involved in the celebration. If you're planning events at your library for young people during September 15-October 15, you might find some great ideas to use.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Oportunidad Magnífica

A long while back, I signed up to be a Spanish translator for the local hospital and haven't thought much about it. Friday night, I got a call that a translator was needed in the ER. I jumped in the car with my two young boys and we went to help out. Several people asked who I was affiliated with and I said that I worked for the library but wanted to volunteer this service. It was tremendously fulfilling and greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

North Valley SLO update

Last Monday Amy met with four Latino women (all from Mexico) to brainstorm about local Hispanic needs and the NVPL SLO program. These women will form the initial SLO Advisory Group. For three, the highest priority is obtaining MT driver manuals in Spanish so they can learn to drive. ESL (English as a 2nd Language) classes are next highest priority. We have set a date to meet with an ESL instructor on August 17th to plan a 4-6 week introductory course, after which we will assess the students' progress, etc. Last night Amy met with one of the members of the SLO Advisory Group to assist her husband in creating his first resume. How exciting!
Soon, we shall have completed our draft budget and time line for our project. We are also working on a Hispanic related September First Friday event in Stevensville to be held at the library.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quick Resource Update; Criticas Online Magazine

I've added myself to the email list for Criticas online Magazine. I get an email link once a month to their online magazine (, In it there is a list of recommended and reviewed Spanish-language materials for all ages and in all formats ( as well as articles. I found this great Q&A with NYPL's Yolanda Bonitch about collection development mostly (

I'd encourage you to sign up for the online Magazine too. Quite useful I think, and free.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Another SLO Grant

A final SLO grant has been awarded.

The Belgrade Community Library will receive a $250 SLO grant to purchase selected materials for the collection including "Teach Yourself English for Spanish-Speakers" (on CD); "Immigration and You: How to Navigate the Legal Maze and Triumph" (in Spanish), by Lourdes Alcaniz; and "Waiting for My Baby: A Guide to Pregnancy for the Latina Woman" (in Spanish).

It's exciting that the library and staff have identified materials that address important topics and issues for their Spanish speaking patrons. Congratulations to Belgrade Community Library!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Montana SLO resource librarians

Just an update on the SLO project in Montana.

Molly Kliss and Kathy Robins have both enthusiastically agreed to continue serving as resource librarians for the MT SLO project. Using the SLO blog and email, they'll keep providing us with great ideas and pointing us to valuable resources for Spanish language outreach activities.

Catherine McMullen will no longer be officially serving as a SLO project resource person. We thank her for her work on the project and invite her to keep sharing information about the SLO activities going on at her library.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Amy's Dilemma
My most valuable Latino contact seems to be out of reach. Francesca and her family (husband, 2 kids, mom)moved to Montana from CA 3 years ago. They were originally from Mexico. Her husband went to work at a dairy. Recently he was deported to Mexico to resolve some immigration problems. That was 2 months ago. The family were evicted from their farm house that was a benefit of the dairy job. Francesca found a new home and moved July 1st. She was able to expand her work schedule at an assisted living site which made it more difficult for us to meet. Francesca and I had plans to meet last week to plan our brainstorming session about recruiting members of our SLO advisory board. She did not show up or call me, which is not like her. I tried to call her but her number is no longer in service. Now I am worried about her well being and wondering how to locate her.
My next step will be to contact the area assisted living facilities to find her. More on this as events occur.
Meanwhile, I will draft a budget and time line for the SLO grant to be completed by October 1st.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Medicare/Medicaid toolkit in Spanish

Maggie Meredith shared this resource with me -- it was mentioned in a recent WJ newsletter. Since some libraries are working to provide healthcare information for Spanish speakers in the community, we thought this might be of interest.

English-Spanish Medicare Library Outreach Toolkit

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have developed an extensive toolkit to help librarians direct Medicare beneficiaries/seniors to the right place when they need help regarding Medicare issues. The toolkit provides resources in English and Spanish. You can download the toolkit from .

Monday, July 7, 2008

Grant Awards


Thanks to the libraries that posted SLO grant proposals on the blog. Some really great ideas for outreach are in the works!

Catherine, Kathy, Molly and I reviewed the proposals and decided all should receive SLO grants. The amounts awarded are based on the proposal details and outreach activities being planned. Here are the awards:

North Valley Public Library-- $500.00

Dillon Public Library -- $400.00

Flathead County Library-- $350.00

Lewis & Clark Library -- $350.00

In addition, the three libraries that generously donated staff to provide SLO training around the state -- Bozeman Public Library, Missoula Public Library, and Parmly Billings Library -- will each receive $785 grants for local SLO activities.

Congratulations to all!!!

Grant letters and agreements are being mailed today to the seven libraries receiving awards. Once the signed agreements are returned to MSL, checks will be issued and outreach activities can begin! All SLO grant funds must be spent by October 1, 2008. A report of grant activities is requested at the end of the project. Please give credit for activities/materials funded by the SLO grant to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Montana State Library.

Again, thanks for your interest in the SLO project. Keep sharing your plans and activities on the blog, OK? And, remember that Molly, Kathy, and Catherine are a great resource as you start putting your SLO proposals in motion.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Collection Development

I noted that some libraries are developing/starting Spanish language collections. Here are some helpful online resources:

Críticas - An English Speaker's Guide to Spanish Language Titles. There are reviews of both children and adult, fiction and non-fiction titles. You can read blogs, sign up for a monthly e-newsletter with the latest Spanish-language releases and even reference a list of the Top 100 Fiction titles to strengthen your collection. This is a great time saving resource. Libros en español - has a great selection of books in Spanish and even if you don't buy any there you can always see what is new, read customer and critical reviews, as well as see what the bestsellers of the day/hour are.

ALSC Bilingual Books for Children has a large Spanish list. This is a great resource for bilingual books for many languages.

Do you have other resources you are using to develop your Spanish-language collections? Please share in the comments section.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

outreach in Flathead County

We are hoping to connect with a young man who will be working with the migrant community in the cherry orchards on the east shore this summer. Most orchards are technically in Lake County and the Polson City Library works with this community, but many of the workers live much closer to our Bigfork Branch Library. We'll be visiting with the workers and their families and inviting them to the library. Right now however, since the cherry crop is going to be late, and our connection is working up in Sidney, we don't have the details worked out. More to follow.

I love all the ideas I've read about on this blog. Montana libraries are certainly innovative and caring!

Partnering with Your Community

I am impressed by all of the great ideas and action that is coming out of these workshops from Montana library staff. Great! The first Connecting to Spanish Speakers @ Your Library workshop was an in-service day for staff at the Bozeman Public library in October 2007. At that time we formed an Outreach to Latinos Committee (OLC) of staff and volunteers. Today we had our monthly meeting and we are still struggling to bring new Latino patrons into the library.

What I have learned and you can see it also in your posts is the importance of partnering with members of the community to better service Latinos and meet the goals that you set forth in your action plans.

Brett in FCL mentions that he helped some Latinos outside of the library walls but still let them know that FCL has Spanish-speaking staff and provided contact information.

Amy and Carrie at North Valley are working with a Latino/a patron to make connections in the community and invite people into the library.

Dillon is integrating bilingual programing into the summer reading program and making it a part of regular service as well as taking advantage of the expertise of a staff member who speaks Spanish.

These are all great ideas that demonstrate the value of working with the community to introduce the library to the local Latino community.

In Gallatin County, there is a group of service providers that, like Montana libraries, are working to better serve their English Language Learning (mostly Spanish-speaking) clients. This group is CORO (Coalition Of Resource Organizations). I joined this group last summer representing the library when I did my community member interviews. Since that time the Bozeman Library has worked with many different local organizations to promote services.

  • Through the Friends of the Library we donate a box of children's books to the Gallatin County Food Bank each month. Books are free for food bank clients and information about the library is provided in each book both English and Spanish. It has become a wildly popular program (the favorite thing about the food bank for many children) and I am working to find funding to purchase books for this program.
  • Flyers for our bilingual storyhours are posted at CORO organizations such as the Gallatin Community Clinic, Food Bank, University, etc.
  • Barbara Komlos at The Language Center has worked with the library to check translations, and is now volunteering as our storyteller for the bilingual storyhours.
  • Professors at the university have worked with the library to provide volunteers, translation help, and help reach out to the Spanish-speaking community.
  • We are in the midst of planning a Community Cena (dinner) at the library to be held before the August storyhour. The cena would be a time for Latino families and non-Latino families to have dinner together (a potluck), meet and greet (Free Fun Food Family), become friends, and then attend the bilingual storyhour together. The library is counting on the contacts of CORO members and others to bring everyone in the Gallatin community together.

What ways is your library partnering with your local community to bring in new patrons?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

North Valley Public Library Begins Spanish Outreach

North Valley Public (Stevensville) has started its Spanish Outreach Program! Staff members, Amy & Carrie, attended the daylong training "Reaching Out to the Spanish Speaking Community" at the most recent MLA conference. Since then ideas and plans are underway. We would like to apply for the grant available to help us kick start our program. Communication and brainstorming is ongoing between the library staff and a Mexican American patron and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua. This patron is also tutoring the staff in conversational Spanish and working together on translation of library forms and informational materials.

Some ideas we have for expanding our Spanish Outreach include:

1. Printing translated materials and directional posters.

2. Hosting a small scale "Get to Know You" coffee gathering of close friends of our Mexican American patron currently assisting us to recruit or identify potential Spanish Outreach advisory group members.

3. Determine level of interest in online Spanish newspapers or periodicals. Purchase one year subscription.

4. Determine level of interest in ESL classes. ESL certified library volunteer has offered to begin weekly conversation group with hopes of future, formal ESL 6 week course.

5. Slowly build Spanish library holdings.

6. Occasional guest speakers, Latino dancers & singers for Story Hour and Summer Reading Program.

I hope this information is sufficient to apply for the Spanish Outreach grant.

Dillon Public Library Hispanic Outreach Summer 08

Dillon Public Library is in the process of completing registration documents translated into Spanish for our Spanish speaking patrons. The first document completed will be the parental consent form so that the children and teens can use the public access computers.

This summer we are working with the Migrant Worker Summer School federal program here in Dillon. On Friday, June 13 twelve children visited the Library to learn all about how we arrange books in the Library, so that they can easily choose reading material appropriate for their reading level. The children all left the library with library card applications and an enthusiastic invitation to return with their parents so that they may obtain a borrowing card. (Several of the children already had library cards!) Unfortunately, our summer reading programs meets during the hours of the Migrant Summer School, and thus the children are unable to attend the regular summer programs. We hope that some of them will participate in the individual reading part of the program, however. Their summer school is over before summer reading programs end, so they may be able to make a couple of the summer reading programs anyway.

One of our weekly summer reading programs is called "Bilingual Bugs." In this session we are going to explore and learn how to name bugs in Spanish. We will all become familiar with the Spanish language and culture through songs, activities, games and stories. We will close the session with the uniquely Spanish custom of pinata (butterfly - mariposa) breaking.

We have a staff member who speaks enough Spanish to be able to converse with our Hispanic patrons. Because she only works part time, we are having her develop a "cheat sheet" of key Spanish words for the rest of us to use when members of the Hispanic community visit our Library. Members of the Hispanic community respond so warmly when we make an attempt to greet them in their native language. We want to do everything we can to make them feel welcome in their Library!

Pick 'em up!

My outreach for the past week was when I saw 2 Mexican men carrying a ton of groceries. I stopped and asked them in Spanish if they wanted a ride and they happily accepted. I told them that I worked at the library, explained what it is and invited them to come in. I also asked them to let others in the Latino community know that se habla español at Flathead County Library. I gave them my work phone number and told them to call if they needed anything. They were very appreciative and we'll see...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

SLO in Montana

In 2007, Montana State Library partnered with the Gates Foundation and OCLC in the Spanish Language Outreach (SLO) project. Three Montana librarians -- Molly Kliss (Missoula), Catherine McMullen (Bozeman) and Kathy Robins (Billings) -- volunteered to present "Connecting to Spanish Speakers @ Your Library" workshops in seven Montana communities to help librarians learn more about the needs of local Spanish speakers and to plan and implement outreach activities for this special population. The workshops were scheduled during October 2007 - April 2008.

The MTSLO blog is a great place for all Montana librarians to share SLO ideas and experiences. If your library is currently offering outreach services to Spanish language patrons, or if there are outreach activities in the planning stages, please post these on the blog for others to learn about. This blog can also be used to ask questions and to talk about books, web sites, organizations, and other resources for serving Spanish speakers. Molly, Catherine and Kathy will also be sharing activities from their libraries, as well as presenting special features and tips for successful SLO efforts.

Currently, there is a small amount of SLO grant funds available that will be shared with public libraries currently planning or implementing outreach activities in their communities. In order for your library to be considered for a SLO mini-grant ($200-$400), post a description of upcoming activities or programming on the blog by June 25th. The mini-grants are for outreach activities that will be completed by October 1, 2008 – perfect for Hispanic Heritage Month. Libraries whose staff attended one of the “Connecting to Spanish Speakers @ Your Library“ workshops will be given first consideration for the SLO mini-grants. If you have questions about the grants, please contact me.

The ALA report cited in the welcome above is entitled "Serving Non-English Speakers in U.S. Public Libraries," and is available at The report is the first national survey to examine the range of specialized library services for this population, which numbers 21 million people (50% more than a decade ago). According to the report, the most successful programs and services were English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, language-specific materials and collections, computer use and computer classes, story time, and special programs. So, what programs and services are proving successful in Montana? Let's start sharing!

Sue Jackson
Montana State Library or 1-800-338-5087

p.s. If you are headed to the ALA Annual Conference in June, several programs on services for non-English speakers are being offered.