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...