Sunday, January 16, 2011


While I have already mentioned a few websites on library resources for Spanish-speaking patrons, I feel I should also mention many books that are available within this subject. Each photo is linked to the webpage for that particular book.
Bienvenidos! Welcome!: A Handy Resource Guide for Marketing Your Library to Latinos by Susannah Mississippi Byrd covers many topics revolving around outreach to the Latino community. These topics include demographics, collection development, library services, outreach, and a marketplace containing many print and online Spanish-language resources.

Library Service to Spanish Speaking Patrons: A Practical Guide by Sharon Chickering Moller covers a brief history of Spanish-speaking people in the U.S., adult outreach services, youth outreach services, basic Spanish terms used in the library and gives online resources for developing library service to Spanish-speaking patrons.

Serving Latino Communities by Camila Alire and Jacqueline Ayala gives an almost step-by-step guide for librarians to follow in order to effectively reach out to the surrounding Hispanic community. Topics covered include understanding the Latino community, how to decide whether your library is surrounded by a large Latino community, programs and partnerships involved with getting started, collection development, and funding for these library services.

Library Services to Latinos is an anthology edited by Salvador Guerena. This anthology is a collection of 17 professionally-written papers focused on the various aspects of library services to Latinos. Topics included are library services for children, Spanish-speaking patrons in academic libraries, outreach to Latinos, and a list of electronic resources for reaching out to Latinos.

Crash Course in Serving Spanish-Speakers by Salvador Avila is my favorite of all the books in this post. I read this book from front cover to back cover and couldn't put it down. It was so informative and well-written. It covers the "who/what/where/when/how and why" of providing library services to Spanish-speakers. Other topics include outreach; services, programs, and marketing to Spanish-speakers; and even surveys on and issues of Spanish-speakers. 


This is perhaps my most data-driven post within my blog. In order to give a better view of the dramatic increase of Hispanics within the U.S., I went through a number of documents that have been released by the U.S. Census Bureau. In my search I found a number of valuable reports, but for the sake of my readers, I will only be discussing the two major reports.

First is actually a presentation compiled by the Ethnicity and Ancestry Branch, Population Division of the U.S. Census Bureau. The title is Hispanics in the United States the topics that are covered include population size and growth, geographic distribution within the U.S., and also current socioeconomic characteristics. According to this report, the five states with the largest Hispanic population, in order, are California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois. The following is a chart with a link (below it) to the actual presentation (in PDF).

Source: Hispanics in the United States. Ethnicity and Ancestry Branch of Population Division of the U.S. Census Bureau.

The second report is entitled Tracking Hispanic Ethnicity: Evaluation of Current Population Survey Data Quality for the Question on Hispanic Origin, 1971 to 2004 and was compiled by Dianne Schmidley and Arthur Cresce for the U.S. Census Bureau using the Current Population Survey (CPS). This report begins with thoroughly explaining all aspects of the research and data analysis, including definitions and examples of questions asked in the surveys. Next, Schmidley and Cresce present their findings with tables and explanations of those tables. These tables represent the dramatic increase in Hispanic population within the U.S. from 1971 to 2004. Below is one of the tables along with a link to the full report.

Source: Schmidley, Dianne and Arthur Cresce. Tracking Hispanic Ethnicity: Evaluation of Current Population Survey Data Quality for the Question on Hispanic Origin, 1971 to 2004. U.S. Census Bureau.

Movement toward a bilingual library

Many libraries are making the transition from a single-language library to a bi-lingual or even multi-lingual library. On the other hand, there are quite a few state public library systems that have not even added links to their websites for Hispanics. Finally, there is the middle-range of libraries who have begun the movement toward a bi-lingual library by at least adding Spanish links and resources to their websites. I have searched through multiple libraries in the south east to find which ones have Spanish catalogs and/or links to Spanish resources.

In Alabama, there is one public library system in particular that has really moved toward reaching out to Hispanic-Americans. The Birmingham Public Library in Birmingham, Alabama has a link on their homepage entitled "Espanol". This link takes the user to a webpage that offers links to the library's catalog, e-mail, dictionaries, encyclopedias and many more resources, all of which are in Spanish. The photo below is a screenshot of the Birmingham Public Library's main page and if you click on the page, it will open up the Library's Spanish website.

In Mississippi, the Lee-Itawamba Library System, which covers Fulton, MS, and Tupelo, MS, offers their complete catalog in Spanish. In the upper right-hand corner of the Library's main web page, there is a link entitled "Espanol PAC" which takes the user directly to the Spanish catalog. Below is a screenshot of the Lee-Itawamba Public Library along with a link to the Spanish catalog.

Florida is the state with one of  the fastest growing Spanish population. They have many libraries that provide outreach to Hispanic-Americans. One of these libraries is the Miami-Dade Public Library System which is located in Miami, Florida. Not only does this library system offer their catalog in Spanish, they also provide many links to Spanish resources and services. Below is a screenshot of the Miami-Dade Public Library System's main page along with a link to their Spanish catalog and resources.

The final library system that I would like to mention is the Chicago Public Library System in Chicago, Illinois since Chicago is the home of that American Library Association. This library system's website is, in my opinion, one of the best in terms of outreach to Hispanic Americans. On the far right-hand side of their main web page, the user can find a Spanish link as well as three choices of font size for the website's contents. Below is a screenshot of the Chicago Public Library's main web page along with a link to the Spanish catalog and resources.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

American Library Association

The American Library Association (ALA) is composed of many divisions, one of which is RUSA - Reference and User Services Association. One of the goals of this association is the development of library services to the Spanish-Speaking. They have created two sets of guidelines by which libraries who wish to reach out to Hispanic-Americans. The first set of guidelines is the Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Multilingual Collections and Services. These guidelines cover such topics as collection development, programs and outreach services, developing a bi-lingual or multi-lingual staff within the library. 

       Click on the photo to view the guidelines in their entirety. 

The second set of guidelines is the Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users. While it is similar to the previously mentioned guidelines, these guidelines more thoroughly discuss collection development, programs and outreach services, staffing, and even the decor of the facility in order to better serve the Spanish-speaking community. 

       Click on the photo to view the guidelines in their entirety.

These two sets of guidelines are probably most helpful to those libraries located in communities with a large Spanish-speaking community. Not every library in the U.S. must follow these guidelines, but for those who wish to reach out to the local Hispanic community, these guidelines are a great way to get started.


The organization that is leading the movement toward library outreach to Hispanic-Americans is called REFORMA. It was created in 1971 by Dr. Arnulfo Trejo and it was created as an affiliate of the American Library Association. The full name of this organization is the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, but the organization chose to use the title REFORMA as a "verbalization of a concept" (Oder).

One of REFORMA's most noteworthy activities is the annual scholarship drive. The association awards a number of scholarships to library school students that express interest in working with Latinos (REFORMA).

                 Click Picture to visit REFORMA's website.

There are five primary goals of REFORMA: “development of Spanish-language and Latino-oriented library collections; recruitment of bilingual, multicultural library personnel; promotion of public awareness of libraries and librarianship among Latinos; advocacy on behalf of the information needs of the Latino community; and liaison to other professional organizations” (REFORMA).

Works Cited:

Oder, Norman. “REFORMA Forges Forward.” Library Journal. 125.16 (2000): 46-48. Web. 5 Oct 2010.
“REFORMA – Who We Are” REFORMA. 2005. Web. 6 Oct 2010.