Monday, November 9, 2009

From WebJunction -- a couple of SLO-related webinars in November. One is tomorrow (11/10) -- sorry for the short notice.

Reaching Spanish-speaking Agricultural Communities
On November 10 Patricia Rempel, University of Alberta; and José Garcia, King County Library System, will share research on perceived use of public access computers by Spanish speakers in rural Washington. The webinar will include real-life examples of library use in these rural communities and the results of outreach efforts by the libraries studied. More info and registration »

Using Social Media to Make the Case for Supporting Library Services
On November 19 learn the background of social websites, how to use these websites for advocacy, and how to advocate for services for Latinos and Spanish speakers. A panel of guest speakers include Meredith Farkas, Norwich University; Fiona Bradley, IFLA; Marci Merola, ALA; Max Macias, Portland Community College; and Loida Garcia-Febo, Queens Library. More info and registration »

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chef Jorge

Chef Jorge Morales was born in Miami of Colombian heritage He now lives in Stevensville and has a gourmet catering business called Cafe Mundo . Jorge gave a demonstration of how to prepare two recipes (one from Costa Rica, one from Mexico) along with cultural background of the country's cuisine and the history of each recipe.

Fiesta Latina

Here you see members of the North Valley public Library Spanish Conversation Group who did most of the decorating, cooking and organizing of what turned out to be the most attended event in the 100 year history of the Library with over 160 people.

Final report on Hispanic Heritage Month at North Valley Public Library

It was a fast paced, event filled month! So many new faces and new ideas. Some of the events that took place were historical and cultural presentations, travelogues, musical and dance performances and cooking demonstrations. We were able to work with "Global Grizzlies" the student-run organization from U. of M. doing work in developing countries, nationally recognized musicians performing Mariachi and Flamenco music, native people from Chile, Guatemala and Mexico, world travelers, and a chef from Colombia. Watch for some photos of events to follow this post.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Piñata Fun and Latin Dance Night!

On Thursday, Oct. 8, Missoula Public Library celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a fun-filled day of events. In the afternoon, we learned how to decorate piñatas with Eileen Cummings of "Spanish Anyone?"

Then we turned down the lights and turned up the music for Latin Dance Night. Missoula's local Flamenco group Patio Andaluz gave a beautiful performance of a variety of flamenco dances.

Members of the Downtown Dance Collective demonstrated salsa moves so fast that we could not even catch it on camera! However, they did slow things down a bit teach the audience some basic moves. Everyone also enjoyed tapas from Columbia, Mexico and Spain from The Silk Road.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fiesta Latina a HUGE Success!

Our 2nd annual Hispanic Heritage celebration "Fiesta Latina" was a huge success. This event was the kick-off for our month long celebration of independence (from Spain) for seven Latin & South American countries. Fiesta Latina was a record breaking library event: 160+ people attended - more than any other event in the history of our library! Our Spanish conversation Group donated most of the food which featured recipes from each country. Oscar Macz from Guatemala performed native guitar music and sang traditional songs. Kimberlee Carlson and friend Maria performed several dances from various countries and encouraged many folks to join in the dancing. Fun was had all and photos will follow soon as well as reports about our travelogues.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Planning continues for Hispanic Heritage Month

This is what we did this week for our Hispanic Heritage project:
1. Submitted our application for a Humanities Montana Opportunity Grant
2. Sent out our press releases
3. Contacted two radio stations regarding possible interviews
4. Created a brightly colored poster
5. Talked to a sign shop about a vinyl banner
6. Attended a Missoula salsa dance for networking
7. Secured a speaker to present travelogue on Chile
8. Contacted UM advisor to Foreign Students about presentation on Guatemala
9. Updated our NVPL website calendar of events
Busy week! Very exciting to see and hear the enthusiasm from so many, both Latin Americans and others. Next week: create the banner for outside the library, research where to obtain affordable maps and flags of our targeted countries to display, research traditional recipes.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Diana Miranda at Austin Public Libraries in Texas did a webinar on selecting Spanish language materials for the collection.

I've not watched it yet, but it sounds interesting. Here is the link to the Texas State Library & Archives Commission blog to get access to the archived webinar (Wimba) and Diana's PowerPoint. Might be worth a look!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Planning "Spanish Heritage Month"

Hello, All! We are in the midst of planning for our first month long celebration "Spanish Heritage Month" to be held this September. (We got the idea from the ALA book "Bienvenidos!" by Susannah Mississippi Byrd.) Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally begins Sept. 15th which is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua; Mexico declared its independence on Sept. 16th, and Chile on Sept. 18th. This is a time dedicated to learning more about Latino history and culture. We are working on a Humanities Montana grant - wish us luck! Our plans currently include a community celebration Sept. 4th (First Fridays in Stevensville are always big nights) complete with dance performances, native dress, guitar music and singing and lots of food! The rest of the month we will have weekly themes: history, literature & art, music and food. Events will include two travelogues (Nicaragua and Costa Rica), a bi-lingual story time, and Latin American recipes, including histories and samples. Our Latino community members are "all jazzed up" to participate. Watch for more updates!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

SLO Networking continues!

Last Thursday evening North Valley Public Library made a solid connection for our SLO program. Two Bitterroot Valley Job Service staff members were at the Library to assist a large number of clients from one company. While talking with the BVJS representatives, NVPL staff discovered that the number of Spanish speaking clients using the BVJS continues to increase, especially in the spring when seasonal workers arrive to our area, and that their only bi-lingual staff member retired this year. NVPL provided our currently updated, translated library materials plus offered to assist BVJS via telephone whenever they need immediate translation. They were very pleased to have us as a resource. We look forward to acting as a resource for Bitterroot Valley Job Service and meeting the career (and recreational) needs/desires of their clients.

Friday, July 24, 2009

SLO in Summer Reading Program

Today Spanish teacher, Catalina Gerner, and our Children's Program coordinator, Patricia Meakin, hosted a program featuring Mexican food and art. The children learned how to make tortillas and salsa from a traditional Mexican (pre-Columbian) recipe. The children also learned the difference between Mexico City and Mexico the country. They also learned about the metric system in other countries. Each child made their own tortilla and salsa under supervision. After that they walked to the park and broke a taco-shaped pinata created by Patricia, who is eager to broaden the children's cultural awareness. Here are a few photos of the program.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Seeking ideas for Spanish Heritage Month

Hello, All. Just a few updates from North Valley: We have some delightful new members of our Spanish Conversation Group. One is from Chile; Erika will teach Spanish at Missoula International School and will be another terrific asset to NVPL, much like Catalina has been. (Catalina is from Mexico and also a Spanish teacher.) Another is from Mexico & CA; Arlette is a teenager going to highschool. These folks help us improve our language skills every week. Our group (average: 15) held a food & music fiesta last week; it's almost a monthly event! There were several new folks, including several 2nd generation Mexican Americans new to our area. NVPL recently purchased 4 audio book (on cds) sets entitled "Ingles en el trabajo"; "Ingles para entrevistas de trabajo"; "Ingles para jardineria"; "Ingles para construccion"; "Ingles para restaurantes." We are happy to share, so, please feel free to request these via ILL. Already the one on restaurants and the one on construction have been borrowed by some of our Hispanic patrons. We are beginning to plan for Spanish Heritage month this Sept., so we would love to brainstorm with those who have "walked before" us. We tentatively thought we would focus on one aspect (history, arts, food, etc.???) per week, after our big Fiesta Hispana for First Friday.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

new library film to reach non-English speakers

The Greenville County Library System in South Carolina ( has produced an 8-minute film entitled "Welcome to Your Public Library" for use by foreign-born patrons. The film is in English with a few words (borrow, return, etc.) given in several different languages. It is both an ESL instructional tool as well as a library orientation resource.

From the library's home page, you can link to the film (YouTube) and an LJ article about the film.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Miss Today's Webinar?

Don't worry! You can still find out about Missoula's new English/ Spanish signs and all of the great SLO happening in Missoula, Stevensville and Dillon. The Webinar was archived on the WebJunction website. Listen to it by clicking on the link below and then come back to the blog and tell us what you are doing in your own library!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Montana SLO Outreach Webinar

WebJunction May Webinar on Outreach Success Stories
Wednesday, May 13 12:00pm

Join three of your very own Montana librarians on May 13 for a free one-hour webinar, featuring real-world examples of successful Spanish Language Outreach. Amy Ling (North Valley Public Library), Marie Habener (Dillon Public Library) and Molly Ledermann (Missoula Public Library) will present the work they have done to sustain the momentum of WebJunction's Spanish Langauge Outreach project and discuss their ongoing strategies to assess community needs, make their libraries more welcoming, develop programming, and foster connections with Spanish-speaking communities. Montana librarians became involved with Spanish Language Outreach through participation in workshops in seven Montana communities. Since then, they have used the MTSLO blog to showcase those who continue to provide outreach activities, services and programs for Spanish speakers in their communities.

Register for this and other WebJunction events.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

North Valley Updates

After reading the informative booklet from Web Junction "Latinos & Public Perception" and the book "Crash Course in Serving Spanish-Speakers", we got busy! We went to the phone book and began calling local social services as well as our regular Hispanic patrons; we asked lots of questions. We distributed packets of our library brochures translated into Spanish; we made a lot of prospective contacts, increasing our network considerably. Also, we discovered a great website to improve our Spanish language skills at our own pace. It is called
Is anyone familiar with it? You make friends with native speakers and help each other; we respond in Spanish; they respond back in English, then we correct each other to the best of our ability. There are certified instructors available, too. Great web site!
We are looking forward to our next fiesta - Seis de Mayo! (Since our Spanish Conversation Group regularly meets on Wednesday evenings, we decided to keep the same day of the week.) There are now 18 members of our group, with seven native Spanish speakers. A report and photo will soon follow. One more thing, we have implemented the Spanish Word of the Day and so far, so good. It helps to make learning fun!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

North Valley ESL Class update

The first ESL class of North Valley Public Library was completed today. There was a celebration "pot luck" with a variety of delicious ethnic dishes and desserts. We had a diverse group including staff, all ESL students, and even the President of the Library Board of Trustees and his wife. After a short break, ESL classes will begin in mid April.

The NVPL "Mesa de Conversacion" is going strong, with new participants attending every week. This week we will have our regular gathering at the Mexican restaurant "Fiesta en Jalisco" while Amy is having a Spanish conversation of her own in NICARAGUA!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spanish Word of the Day

I think it would be great to have a Spanish "Word of the Day" or a "Phrase of the Day" to share with our staff. We have a short staff meeting every morning and that would be a wonderful time to share it, then email the word later that day for reinforcement. I've often thought of this, but need a boost from someone who knows Spanish. Any takers?

Learning Spanish

One of my goals this year is to re-start my efforts to learn Spanish. I can hardly wait! I know a few words in Spanish and took an 8-week course in 2007, but that is all. I may not be able to attend a class until the Fall, but it is on my "things to do" list after I get my Master's Degree this Spring. I am politely awkward when I encounter a Spanish-speaking patron. I can fumble through and the patrons are great about it, but I'd love to be more adept. Another member of our staff has been taking Spanish classes and I'm hoping we can start a trend. It will be a wonderful benefit to our patrons.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

St.Valentine's Day Celebration at North Valley Public Library

In the Hispanic world it is called also "El Dia de la Amistad" and you don't have to be in love to celebrate. Based on that, we had a pot luck celebration on Feb. 14th, complete with a variety of ethnic dishes and participation by many people of Spanish speaking countries. The wonderful food ranged from mole negro from Oaxaca to tamales from Sinaloa, Mexico. Those participating included our Mexican American patrons as well as the President of our Library Board of Trustees and the President of the Friends of the Library.

Our local newspaper, Bitterroot Star, has printed the press release about our Spanish Conversation Group for five weeks and, as a result, each week we have had newcomers join us. Last week our group had our "mesa de conversation" at Fiesta en Jalisco, the local Mexican restaurant. We had a blast! Ordering in Spanish, tasting the delicious dishes and getting to know the newcomers to our group. Everyone has been spreading the word county-wide about our SLO at North Valley Library; the word is even "out" at the salsa exercise class in town!

Today we made contact with the Ravalli County Human Resource Council that agreed to distribute our promotional flyers for our ESL class along with our library brochure translated into Spanish. We also distributed brochures to the Stevensville Dept. of Motor Vehicles and Main Street Association.

Our resident Spanish "gem", Catalina, has also been helping with individual needs such as applying for energy assistance and creating resumes. We have extended our assistance as needed for translation situations for everyday unexpected occurrences, such as emergency dental needs. We are providing exceptional services to those patrons who are learning English.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

SLO update from Stevensville - North Valley Public Library

Our SLO program is growing by leaps and bounds! Community response has been wonderful. We are receiving inquiries almost every day for the past two weeks due to the recent press releases for our new programs.
1. We began a free, 6 week ESL (English as a Second Language) class held at the library and received a initial positive response which continues to grow daily.
2. We also began our Spanish Conversation Group for those who already know some of the language but need practice. This group met at the library last week for the first time and there were 8 attendees. Since then there have been numerous inquiries from other interested people.
3. Serendipity brought us a new Mexican restaurant (Fiesta en Jalisco) across the street from our library. This has inspired interest in Hispanic culture from members of our community. Our Spanish Conversation Group already communicates with the Hispanic employees and will meet at the restaurant once a month.
4. Check out of our Spanish/English materials has increased significantly.
5. One of our patrons donated a subscription to People magazine in Espanol.
6. The staff learned how to change from English to Spanish language on most web sites.
7. Plans are underway for a pot luck gathering to celebrate St. Valentine's Day (as well as Cinco de Mayo) with the ESL class and the Spanish Conversation Group.
8. The BIGGEST news is our good fortune to have recruited a native Spanish teacher working short term at the library until she begins her Masters Program at the University of Montana. Her name is Catalina Gerner. Please welcome her to our SLO Blog.
Sincerely, Amy Ling

Friday, January 16, 2009

SLO News in Missoula

The Missoula Public Library has two exciting new additions to our Spanish Language Outreach efforts!

1. We've just received the first copy in our subscription to People en Español.

2. Next month we'll be starting a bi-monthly Talk Time, an informal conversation table for English language learners, facilitated by a TEFL-certified volunteer. Talk Time will be held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month at 7:00 p.m. We're working with the ESOL coordinator at Missoula's continuing education center and the English Language Institute at the University of Montana to help spread the word.

We are also already thinking ahead to programming for Spanish Heritage Month 2009 (Sept. 15-Oct. 15).

I'm curious to know what other libraries have in store for their SLO outreach in 2009!