...una biblioteca es un gabinete mágico en el cual hay muchos espíritus hechizados. Despiertan cuando los llamamos; mientras no abrimos un libro, ese libro, literalmente, es un volumen, es una cosa entre las cosas.      - Emerson

Public Libraries Using Spanish



The 1977 Nobel Prize for Literature went to Spain's April 26 birthday boy Vicente Aleixandre, born 103 years ago.

Were there a Nobel Prize for Organizing, Dolores Huerta would've won three or four of them by now. The heroic UFW co-founder had some health problems recently and we're glad to wish her a happy 71st birthday this April 30. A splendid tribute site will point you toward lots of pictures and informative links, and you there's lots of good info on this magnificent woman Link as well.

SOL 58 Contents:

April 23, 2001
1. Great new how-to book on library homework centers
2. REFORMA workshops at ALA-San Francisco
3. Phoenician wins SOL contest
4. California State Librarian on cultural diversity
5. Carlos Fuentes lights up Los Angeles Public Library


1. Creating the Full-Service Homework Center in Your Library

Cindy Mediavilla is a consummate librarian and an acknowledged authority on homework centers. Several years of examining programs around the U.S. have gone into her new book, a tremendous nuts-and-bolts guide for librarians looking to set up or improve a homework center of their own. Creating the Full-Service Homework Center in Your Library is rich with descriptions of a wide variety of centers--some well-funded, and others operating on a shoestring or no budget at all--and timely contact information. You can order the book from its publisher, the American Library Association, at HERE.

Here's an excerpt:

Castroville Library Homework Center

Castroville Library, Monterey County Free Libraries, Castroville, California

Shirley Dawson, Branch Librarian
Sally Childs, Homework Center Coordinator

Tuesday, 3:00 to 7:00 P.M.; Wednesday, 3:00 to 6:00 P.M.; and Thursday, 3:00 to 7:00 P.M.

All twelve of the county library's Homework Centers are funded by the Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries.

The part-time Homework Center coordinator runs the program under the supervision of the branch librarian and is assisted by several volunteers.

Although students of all ages are welcome to use the Homework Center, the program has been most popular with middle- and high-school students.

The Homework Center welcomes young people into the world of libraries by offering them assistance with their information needs and homework assignments.

Mediavilla, Cindy. Creating the Full-Service Homework Center in Your Library. Chicago: American Library Association, 2001.

Reprinted by permission of the author.


Three afternoons a week, the entire Castroville Library becomes an after-school homework center as teenagers descend on the small branch requesting homework assistance and a quiet place to study. To encourage the kids to ask for help, the Homework Center coordinator greets every student and asks what projects each one is working on. The library's two Internet stations are a big draw, as are the three networked computers that provide access to Social Issues Resources Series (SIRS), CD-ROM encyclopedias in English and Spanish, a magazine index, and Current Biography. Because many of these kids do not have computers at home, they also make good use of several word processors that were donated to the library specifically for typing school assignments.

Volunteer homework helpers are recruited from the California State University campus in nearby Monterey Bay. As part of the university curriculum, CSUMB students are required to provide thirty hours of community service while taking "service leaming" classes. In addition, computer science students are required to work as community "technology tutors." Not only do these university students offer experienced homework assistance, but they serve as powerful role models for kids who never before dreamed of attending college themselves. Often, the older students spend as much time answering questions about college as they do helping the younger kids with homework.

College preparation is an important component of the Castroville program. The local high-school migrant-education counselor often uses the library for after-school tutoring and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) study sessions. Every January, the Homework Center coordinator and the migrant-education counselor invite college financial aid advisors to the library to explain the financial aid process and help students fill out the necessary forms.

In 1999, the Castroville Library Homework Center received YALSA's award for Excellence in Library Services to Young Adults.

2. ALA annual conference workshops: Establishing Library Services for Spanish-Speaking Communities

From: Susana Hinojosa <>
Subject: REFORMA program at ALA Annual, Sat. June 16th

REFORMA Children's and Young Adult Services Committee is sponsoring the following series of programs at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco.

Note: These programs were inadvertently omitted from the preliminary program. Please distribute the information widely.

Are you a librarian needing to provide services to Spanish speaking patrons? Don't know where to start? Then have we got something for YOU!

BIENVENIDOS! Establishing Library Services for Growing Spanish Speaking Communities.
Even if you don't speak Spanish you CAN do it! Learn from the experts! Bilingual storytime programs, crafts, "where" and "what" to buy for Spanish-speaking children and adults, outreach, literacy ...we've got you covered. Librarians who do not speak Spanish are especially welcome.

This series of programs is scheduled Saturday, June 16th. Location TBA.

Part I- Children's services
9-10:30 a.m.      Collection development and bilingual storytime.
Learn "where" and "what" to buy for your new Spanish language children's collection. We'll also show you how to do a bilingual story program. Handouts will be provided.
Presenters: Maria Mena, LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library, Tallahassee, Fl; Diana Borrego and Lorena Flores, San Jose Public Library, CA; Maria Kramer, San Mateo City Library, CA; Armando Ramirez, Biblioteca Latinoamericana, San Jose Public Library, CA.

11:30-12:30 a.m.      Latino children's crafts.
Crafts are always a welcome program. Learn how to do easy, fun crafts. Handouts and easy-to-follow instructions will be provided.
Presenters: Diana Borrego and Lorena Flores, San Jose Public Library, CA; Ana Pavon, S.F.Public Library, CA

Part II - Adult Services
2-4 p.m.         Collection Development.
Answers to the why, what, where of Spanish language material acquisiton for adults: fiction, nonfiction,"fotonovelas" and magazines, even music!
Presenters: Rita Torres, San Jose Public Library, CA; Elissa Miller, Arlington Co. Public Library, MD; Ina Rimpau, Newark Public Library, NJ; Diana Morales, Houston Public Library, TX; Ben Ocon, Salt Lake City Public Library, UT

4:30-5:30 p.m.               Outreach and programming.
What kinds of programs and outreach efforts are most effective in helping Spanish speaking families become loyal library users?
Presenters: Priscila Leni, San Jose Public Library, CA; Jon Sundell, Forsyth County Public Library, Winston-Salem, NC; Marcela Villagran, Multnomah County Public Library, Portland, OR.

3. The Críticas contest

Vicki Novak of the Maricopa Country Library District in balmy Phoenix, AZ won a couple books, including one from Cuba, by correctly identifying Flaco's reviews in the first issue of Críticas, the new quarterly guide to Spanish-language booksellers, distributors, and titles. The magazine has mounted its main story, a practical librarians' guide to Spanish-language bookbuying, on its site at If you want to win a couple kids' books (and you aren't Vicki Novak) then get your hands on a copy of the magazine and tell me the titles reviewed therein by your fellow SOLista Barbara Bibel of Oakland. Oh, right--don't be Barbara Bibel, either, if you want to win the books.

4. Kevin Starr ponders diversity

California's State Librarian did an unusual, Ranganathan-esque thing when appointed to the post: he decided to go to library school (are you reading this, James "Coke Is It" Billington?) The noted historian's op-ed piece in yesterday's Los Angeles Times begins, "The future of California, according to Census 2000, will not look like a scene from 'Gidget' or the cover of a Beach Boys album. will, in cultural terms, be predominantly Latino and Asian."

He's not talking exclusively about the Golden State, of course. You can read "California Resettled" at (and if you do so within 13 days, it'll still be free for the reading...)     

5. Carlos Fuentes

In town to receive the 2001 Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award, Carlos Fuentes gave a reading today in the Central Library downtown and dazzled Flaco and a packed house with his passion, artistry, and wit. He read from works old and new--including, from the recent La frontera de cristal story collection, his sketch of José Francisco, the language-saturated Chicano who smuggled literature back and forth across the U.S.- Mexico border on his motorcycle 'so that everyone would get to know one another one another a little more.'

Fuentes had harsh words for Carlos Abascal, Mexican Secretary of Labor whose complaints about the novel Aura being assigned at his daughter's school led to the dismissal of a 23-year-old teacher. The great writer condemned the firing, but sarcastically thanked Abascal for making Aura a bestseller throughout Mexico: "I've asked him to become my literary agent!"

A final thought from the great trilingual author "I always welcome contact with other cultures: it enriches me."


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