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