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.