Friday, December 10, 2010

Sunday evening Clothes Exchange at Ana & Tony's

Last Sunday (Dec 5th) Reunion en Espanol gathered at the home of conversation group member, Ana and her husband, Tony in Stevensville. There was a holiday "Clothes Exchange" during which members gave away clothes they no longer wanted and took home clothes they liked that others brought to share. The remaining clothing went to "Clothes Closet" the local free store featuring unwanted, clean clothes and household goods. There is a great need for affordable clothing during the winter in Montana. After our clothes swapping, we enjoyed home made pizza made by Tony and Ana and a wide variety of dishes made by other members. After dinner, we danced to salsa music while new member, Alberto, played the Congo drum. What fun! We laughed and danced and spoke in Spanish throughout the evening and a great time was had by all! Thank you to Ana & Tony Napolitano for their warm hospitality and for all who shared their no-longer-wanted clothing and delicious food!
On another note, tonight was the 3rd formal Spanish class taught by Oscar Macz at the North Valley Public Library. This class is free to the public (small donations to the Library are welcome) and is held each Friday evening from 6:15 - 8 pm in the Community Room of the Library. Join us!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooking Cuban Cuisine with Colombian Chef Jorge

One of the most popular events in our annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage is cooking classes with Chef Jorge Morales. This year Jorge created a Cuban-American sandwich called "Medianoche" which means "midnight." These sandwiches became popular in Miami after the influx of Cuban immigrants during the 1950's. The story behind the sandwich is that Cuban people would go out late at night, come home around midnight, open up the refrigerator finding pork (all time favorite of Caribbean cultures), pickles, mustard, etc. - all of the ingredients put together make up a "medianoche" sandwich! Jorge enhanced the basic recipe by adding a mustard/mango salsa on top of the pork, which had been marinated with a variety of citrus fruits. There were 41 people in attendance and each person received a sample of medianoches and plantain chips. This was such a hit that next year NVPL may host two cooking classes.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Early Literacy Videos in Spanish

The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy have created 15 videos in English and Spanish of songs and rhymes for very young children:

The videos are one minute each and help library staff and childcare staff with literacy tips, activities, and ideas for baby, toddler and preschool storytimes.

The project was made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum & Library services.

MT libraries might want to check it out!!

Another great Hispanic Heritage celebration at NVPL! Way to go Amy....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Peru Presentation

Continuing 2010 Hispanic Heritage events, Elizabeth Ballard (member of "Reunion en Espanol" the Spanish conversation group of the North Valley Public Library) presented an educational program about Peru. "Betsy" and her family traveled recently with a tour group to experience, first-hand, weaving communities throughout Peru. Betsy shared with the audience many of these woven products including articles of clothing, bags, belts and hats. The audience viewed spectacular photos taken by Betsy, showing the many historical sites, ancient ruins, native people in traditional clothing, the diverse landscapes, as well as numerous slides of the weaving process. There were 41 people in attendance, including many members of the Missoula Spanish Conversation Group.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Puerto Rico Travelogue

Marshell Woodgates, native of Puerto Rico, presented our first in a month long series of events for Hispanic Heritage Month 2010 at the North Valley Public Library. Marshell described a brief history of how Puerto Rico came to be the last remaining territory in the US and it's current relationship to the mainland US. Ms. Woodgates showed the audience a power point presentation containing many photos from her recent visit back to her home land. She described how so many things have changed in the past 30+ years, including changes in industries, reduction of available work for locals, expansion of housing construction, increased emphasis (dependence) on tourism as well as the growing unrest among students and young adults concerning the relationship between Puerto Rico and the US. There were many audience members who were also born and raised in Puerto Rico who contributed to lively discussions throughout the presentation. After the presentation, many attendees remained to get to know each other and share stories.
It was very informative and fun-filled evening. We look forward to more occasions to work with Marshell Woodgates at the North Valley Public Library.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2010 Success!

Hello, All! You are probably wondering what has taken so long for me to post this latest blog. Well, I was very busy organizing and working on the events the North Valley Public Library held during our 3rd annual Hispanic Heritage month in September. First, at our kick-off event "Grand Fiesta" the members of our Spanish Conversation Group "Reunion en Espanol" along with members of the staff and Board of Trustees at the Library, created some delicious dishes from around the world, of course from countries of Hispanic cultures. One of our most prominent members Oscar Macz performed some of the songs he had written, singing and playing guitar, to provide lovely background music while everyone enjoyed the food. After dinner, professional dancer, Kimberlee Carlson, and her group of Hispanic dancers performed several traditional dances to the delight of the audience of over 100 people. It was a fabulous event, many dressed in native dresses, several people drove all the way down from Missoula and there was much laughter and many happy people. A GREAT way to start our month! More updates to come...stay tuned! Photos to follow..

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Special Dinner: NVPL "Reunion en Espanol"

Hello, Fellow bloggers! The NVPL SLO group met for a special dinner hosted by member Joseph Gallagher at his home. Joseph created a 5 course dinner featuring Italian cuisine for 16. We had wine, dinner, much discussion and many laughs and even salsa dancing! The group met to celebrate Joseph's new home and begin preparation for the upcoming month-long Hispanic Heritage celebration at the North Valley Public Library. We have submitted a grant application to the Missoula Community Foundation and await notice soon. In the meantime, Oscar Macz and I added some dialog to our play "Cenicienta" as well as assigned roles to members. Hispanic Heritage month posters have been distributed all over the area, including Missoula. Lot of little little details to work out but we are well along in the process.
Here are a few photos of our evening at Joseph's home. A fun time was had by all!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wa Correia - SLO Volunteer Extrordinaire

OOPS! Somehow this photo of Wa was not included in our last post. So, here she is! Today Wa just created a gorgeous poster collage of photos from last year's Hispanic Heritage Fiesta. Wonderful marketing tool!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wa Correia - GREAT Volunteer

Hello, All. This month we are waiting to hear if our project "Hispanic Heritage Month" will be funded by the Missoula Community Foundation. Meanwhile, we are moving forward with our plans for our play "Cenicienta" or Cinderella in Spanish. Many of our native speakers will play the major roles. Oscar Macz (Guatemala) is working on adding more dialogue to the script and has agreed to be our director. Oscar will also perform during our kick off event, Hispanic Fiesta, on First Friday, Sept. 3rd, in Stevensville. Oscar plays guitar and sings beautiful songs, many of which he has written himself. Wa Correia (Mexico) was featured recently as Volunteer Extrordinaire by the RSVP - Retired Senior Volunteer Program. Here is a photo of Wa. She is very busy giving so much of her time and energy to help others. We encourage anyone who has photos of interest to our Spanish Language Outreach bloggers to submit them to the blog. This fall I have plans to attend nearby schools during Parent-Teacher nights to "reach out" to those folks of Hispanic heritage. I will provide them with information on all we offer at our North Valley Public Library. I will even do my best to communicate in Spanish! Amy Ling

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Working on play "Cinderella" in Espanol

Hello, All my fellow bloggers! Recently our group "Reunion en Espanol" has been planning the activities of upcoming "Hispanic Heritage Month" at the North Valley Public Library. One of the most involved (and so far, FUN) projects is the play (la obra) "Cinderella" or "Cenicienta" which will be presented in both Spanish & English. Catalina Gerner will be working with new member Noemi to help migrant workers in the Flathead Valley during cherry picking season this month. Catalina will be working with the children while Noemi will be working in the mobile medical clinic. Some of us would like to have a photo submitted with each new SLO blog post. Here is a picture of NVPL Reunion member, Joseph Gallagher, this spring when Erika & Alfonso Schumann & I went hiking near his home close to the national forest. The schedule of events for Hispanic Heritage month at NVPL will soon be completed and posted. As always, your suggestions are welcome.

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Friends, New Plans

NVPL has the good fortune to be the site of internship of University of MT grad student, Amber Lynch, as she prepares for her K-12 certification. Amber will be working to help promote our SLO program to more organizations and businesses. She will help us create marketing materials for NVPL Hispanic Heritage Month in September. This year we are planning to translate the story of Cinderella into a Spanish screen play with members of the NVPL Reunion en Espanol (Spanish Conversation Group) performing at the Stevensville Playhouse community theater. Guatemalan native, Oscar Macz, is not only translating but also changing the story to a screen play. Other ideas for 2010 Hispanic Heritage Month include our community fiesta on First Friday, Main Street, Sept. 3rd, travelogues of Puerto Rico & Peru and a class on Cuban cuisine. We are hoping our outreach efforts will encourage Hispanic natives to visit our library, visit our Spanish conversation group and participate in our events. If anyone has any suggestions, for our ongoing outreach or for our month long celebration of Hispanic Heritage, please share them with us.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stevensville & Missoula SLO groups get together

Hello, Spanish Language Outreach followers! This month the Missoula group joined us in Stevensville to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. There were over 20 of us at Fiesta en Jalisco. Great food, great conversation in Spanish, including with the restaurant staff. The managers bring young Mexican immigrants to the US all the way up to MT to work in their restaurant. While here, they practice learning English and familiarize themselves with our American culture. The Missoula group meets twice a week; once during the day at the public library, once at night at a local brew pub. Another gathering of those interested in Hispanic cultures is the bi-monthly "Salsa Dance" at the Elks club in Missoula. Last week several of our group (Ana, Marina, Joseph, Erika) attended the dance. We are in the beginning stages of planning our annual Hispanic Heritage month events to be held throughout Sept. We will submit a grant application the the Missoula Community Foundation and hope for the best. Alfonso, husband of our dear friend, Erika Schumann, is currently working on a landscape architecture project in China for 3 months. Erika was just informed by their landlord that they need to find a new place to live. She will be re-locating to Missoula soon. We will miss her warm personality, especially me, to whom she has helped in so many ways, particularly breaking the barrier to speaking in Spanish, even if it isn't perfect. We remain good friends for life. Here are a few photos of our Cinco de Mayo dinner.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What's Happenin' in Stevensville w/ Reunion en Espanol?

Hola, Amigos! Our SLO conversation group is one of my favorites because it is so informal, relaxed and FUN! People drop in whenever they want, no expectations of regular attendance, no formal agenda. We continue to draw in newcomers from time to time and each one brings with them a new and interesting story of their life, how they came to live in Stevensville, their background with Spanish language, details of their families, etc. This week we got to know Noemi Bassler who is "una enfermera" (nurse) who follows the migrants who harvest the fruit in Northwestern Montana. We will meet sometime soon to brainstorm about what her Hispanic patients or clients may need that our library can provide. On a personal note, my daughter, Caitlin, just renewed her contract with the American Nicaraguan School in Managua, Nicaragua where she teaches 7th grade Latin American History. Over the next two years, she will be taking her Masters program in Managua focusing on International Education. Next week our SLO group "Reunion en Espanol" will celebrate Cinco de Mayo at our neighboring restaurant "Fiesta en Jalisco" which won an award for Best New Business from the Bitterroot Chamber of Commerce. Congratulations, Amber & Antonio!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


This announcement was just posted by WebJunction.

Spanish Language Outreach Course Revamped and Relaunched
WebJunction's Spanish Language Outreach course has returned to the WebJunction catalog after an extensive makeover. This self-paced course contains a wealth of information, techniques and tools you can use to jump start your library's outreach efforts to your local Spanish-speaking community. In celebration of the relaunch, we are offering both of our WebJunction courses for half price through the end of April. And for those of you who do volume purchases for your staff—the discount applies to your staff, too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Earthquake in Chile on our minds

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Earthquake in Chile on our minds

Shortly after our last blog, Chile experienced the most devastating earthquakes ("terremoto") in its history. Two of our North Valley Public Library (NVPL) SLO group, Erika and Alfonso Schumann, are Chilean natives. The family of Alfonso (his nephew or "sobrino") was affected in so many horrible ways, that their lives will never be the same. As they fled their home during the first tremors, the walls crumbled around them, crushing the nephew, his wife and 10 year old son. The nephew somehow managed to carry his wife outside; we don't know how the son escaped. The young wife was killed by the collapse of the house. The nephew and his son had broken bones, including compound fractures, and were impaled by debris. The nephew had to leave his wife while he desperately sought emergency transportation for his son to go to a hospital. Imagine the trauma to this boy who watched his mother crushed by the falling house, screaming in pain, then dying. By some herculean effort, the nephew managed to secure a ride in the back of a crowded truck bed, carrying his son, having several broken bones in his feet himself. When they finally arrived at the location of the hospital, they found the building had also collapsed. Imagine the pain and anxiety of having broken bones, a huge piece of wood sticking out of your son from his back through his shoulder exiting his chest AND the boy having a compound fracture of his leg, broken bone exposed, through open wound. Alfonso and Erika and their two daughters wired money from Montana to Chile to pay for an ambulance for transportation to the closest working hospital. The nephew was relentless in his pursuit of a coffin for his wife and was successful in bringing her to a final resting place on family land. I am writing this very early in the morning, waking up with these images on my mind, after hearing the details last night at our SLO conversation group. The horror of this situation for this family and so many others haunts me. I just can't stop thinking of the emotional and physical trauma to that young boy and his father. Our discussion last night led to brainstorming of ideas to help these people. Our hearts are heavy with sadness but we are determined to express our care to somehow help in some way.
It suddenly occurs to me that I don't even know their names, but, then... does it really matter?
I will report further details as I learn more. Amy

Thursday, February 11, 2010

North Valley group "Reunion en Espanol" updates

Catalina Gerner displays new food from Mexico. Susie Brown enjoys Spanish language word game she created.

Reunion de Espanol Discovers New Hispanic Foods

Last week Catalina Gerner brought "Bolsitas de Pulpa de Tamarindo" for group members to taste. They were small bags of pulp of the tamarind fruit from Mexico. The taste and consistency reminds you of a fig but with a hint of chile pepper. These are eaten as a sweet or "dulce." Very interesting! Also, we played a game similar to Bingo to learn more vocabulary. The group welcomed back, Arlette, a teenager from Mexico, who returned to live in our area.
This week Wa Correia brought a Enchilada Casserole also of Mexican origin. It was delicious, made with elk meat, cheese and tortillas. Luisa Richardson brought Juego de Jamaica, a red fruit juice, also from Mexico. We discussed the ingredients of the food and how members first tasted the food.
Here is a photo of the container of Pulpa de Tamarindo plus one of Suzi Brown, one of our regular members, playing a game she invented similar to Concentration.
Enjoy while learning is our group motto!
Hasta pronto!

Monday, February 8, 2010

DVDs for kids

I receive email announcements of materials available in foreign languages from a company called Multicultural Books and Videos. Has anyone ordered from them before?

The latest message was about DVDs in Spanish for kids (including Sesame Street). Here's the link:

WJ online SLO newsletter

If you aren't already signed up, WebJunction has a free bi-monthly electronic publication called "Spanish Language Outreach Program Update". You can find current and past issues at and read WebJunction's newsletter at To subscribe, go to and enter your email address in the subscription box.

Below is some information from the latest issue of SLO Program Update. Also, WJ is very interesting in hearing about what you're doing in your community during these tough economic times (see the last paragraph):

America Reads Spanish is a campaign developed by the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade and the Spanish Association of Publishers Guilds to increase the use and comprehension of the Spanish language through the thousands of U.S. libraries, schools and bookstores. Their website includes monthly newsletters; a database of books in Spanish and ARS television; a collection of videos related to Spanish authors, titles and publishers.

Visit the newly created WebJunction group focused on Non-English Materials and Resources to network with other librarians who wish to "discuss issues and share ideas about cataloging and collecting non-English materials."

Your Spanish Language Outreach in Tough Times
As WebJunction enters a fifth year of focus on Spanish Language Outreach, and with libraries playing a key role in their community's economic recovery efforts, we'd like to hear about your current outreach efforts to Spanish-speakers. Are you providing more computer or job skills classes in Spanish? Have you developed new partnerships with other agencies in the community? How are you putting to use the skills learned in your SLO workshop? What new tactics have you developed in these tough times to tackle the needs of your library community? Please take a moment to share a few thoughts by email

Amy -- have you shared with WJ all that's going on in Stevensville??

Monday, January 25, 2010

Peru presentation at Reunion en Espanol, NVPL

Last week Reunion en Espanol member, Betsy Ballard, (see photo) gave a brief presentation of her recent trip to Peru. She passed around a book of photos taken by her brother, John, while on the same trip. The photos are outstanding images of the indigenous people of Peru specializing in the traditional art of weaving. Betsy will be preparing a more formal presentation, to be given hopefully this fall in celebration of Spanish Heritage Month, September. This week plans are underway for Susie Brown to host a game she created similar to "Concentration." What a fun way to improve our Spanish language skills. Our Spanish Language Outreach continues as last week we added two new members, Kim & Ron.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Surveys and Drinks and Games - OH, MY!

Hola, Amigos of Reunion de Espanol! It will take a bit of "getting used to" until our new name rolls off our tongues easily. Recently I conducted a survey of our group members to get a feel for how things were going and what people's expectations were currently. I posed three questions: Why do you come to this group? What would you like to accomplish here? What can we do at NVPL to make your experience better? The results were very positive and encouraging. For the most part people attend our Reunion de Espanol to practice their Spanish language skills, to learn more about Hispanic cultures and to socialize with others with similar interests. The one thing suggested for improvement was to serve beverages such as coffee or tea. So, we now serve tea and coffee! Last week one of our native speakers, Erika Schumann (Chile), suggested we increase our vocabulary and fun by playing word games. This idea was warmly received and we began by playing a recognition game with flash cards. There was lively discussion about various games that would be appropriate and practical for our group of approximately 15 with varying degrees of competency. So, we all went home thinking of possible games. We shall see what this week brings! Here is a photo of Catalina and Amalia, having fun! Both are from Mexico.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Happenings at North Valley Public Library!

Hola, Amigos. NVPL Spanish Language Outreach program reports that their Spanish conversation group now has a new name! The group is now called "Reunion de Espanol." Facilitator, Amy Ling (that's me!) has begun to write a weekly email in Spanish (translated in English) which is sent to all group members. Members love this informal method of brushing up on their language reading and vocabulary skills; this also provides ideas for the upcoming weekly conversation. "Reunion de Espanol" is planning a trip to nearby Missoula Public Library Spanish Conversation Group, "Hispano Hiblantes,"on the 20th for a travelogue presentation on a recent trip to several South American countries. Reunion members, Erika Schumann and Oscar Macz, continue to increase the number of students they are tutoring in Spanish. More to come next week. Until then, Nos Vemos!

Hola - Holiday Fiesta at Stevensville Hotel

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Fiesta for North Valley SLO and Friends

The highlight of our holiday season was a grand fiesta at the gorgeous, historic Stevensville Hotel to celebrate the return of Caitlin Reilly, my daughter, who has been living in Nicaragua for the past three years. Caitlin was working for the Peace Corps there for 2 1/2 years and has been working recently at the American Nicaraguan School, one of the International Schools. Hispanic music kept the party mood lively and Oscar Macz played guitar music and sang songs from his native Guatemala. There was a wide variety of foods to sample along with punch, wine, and many, many desserts. The hotel was "jam packed" with people who were all eager to talk with Caitlin about her adventures in Nicaragua and her plans for the future. Our Spanish Language Outreach group sure does enjoy planning and hosting celebrations. A grand time was had by all!
Until next week, Nos Vemos! Amy

New Year brings new ideas

Hola! After our busy holiday season, it is time to get back in the swing of weekly blogging about our Spanish Language Outreach at North Valley Public Library. Our eclectic group has been referred to as the NVPL Spanish Conversation Group (SCG) but we are endeavoring to create a formal name. The SCG recently reviewed reading lists recommended from Criticas and Reforma, national groups promoting Spanish Language Outreach. SCG recommendations and requests were submitted to NVPL Director, Renee McGrath, who purchased many new materials of expressed interest for NVPL Spanish collection development. Three members of NVPL SCG are not only native speakers relocated from Mexico, Chile, and Guatemala but all are also certified teachers. What excellent resources for our program! Many of our less fluent members have moved beyond juvenile onto young adult materials. Among the most popular items are audio books in Spanish and the "Destinos" video language program in the format of a TV novella or drama series popular in most Hispanic cultures. It is so exciting to watch people progress! Our English as Second Language gatherings have been inactive recently due to work related obligations; however, our ESL instructor is making plans to begin new classes soon. Adios!