...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


SOL 73   April 20, 2002
SOL 73 Contents:


1. News on the Spanish-language book trade

11. Los primeros pasos al Internet
2. Any advice for a bibliobus jockey? 12. Food sites in Spanish
3. Health care divide plagues the U.S. 13. Mouse, don't fail me now: De p@seo por la red
4. Great jobs for Spanish-speaking cybrarians 14. The Pep Boys drive to Spanish class
5. ...and a terrific volunteer opportunity in Guatemala 15. Great Books discussants look at U.S. Latinos
6. JC López is the heart of SOL 16. Latin American literature from Aliform
7. Small screen, big ideas: American Family 17. Free bilingual parenting video kit
8. Fifty family-themed books for youth 18. RUSQ acknowledges day laborers
9. Bubble economy: Ten thousand dollars, one wad of gum, and other beisbol news 19. Meet Trilce Navarrete from Oregon
10. María Félix, 191?-2002 20. ALA Equality Award goes to Chinese-      Peruvian-Canadian-Egalitarian!

1. Librusa: Book news on the Web


If you want to keep up with what's happening in the Spanish-language book world, and you read the language, you need to know about  with its publishing industry news, probing author interviews, and daily mailing list that thousands of subscribers swear by. 

You don't read Spanish?  Not a problem:  you can still stay on top of things with Librusa's English-language notices about Spanish-language titles.  And, of course, there is that indispensable magazine Críticas whose current issue features the world's greatest sandal-wearing sexagenarian cartoonist, Rius, and some words from your pal Flaco about why your Spanish-language collection just has to include plenty of sports books.

2. El Bibliobus tears through the Tarheel State!

From: Erwin Gunnells

We have found the PLUS and SOL sites very useful as we started a brand new four-county bookmobile service (el Bibliobus) to Spanish speakers. The  sudden and enormous influx of immigrants into our mountains has been a real challenge to some of our rural counties and their libraries. Anyway, we're  rolling along, and we need to connect with people who have some experience with this kind of outreach. How do we do this? We [are] concerned with new-guy-in-the-trenches exchange of information.  Thanks for your help.

Erwin Gunnells
Hispanic Outreach
Asheville-Buncombe (North Carolina) Library System

3. Gente de color, gente de dolor

Those worthies over at recently published a reminder of why it is a matter of life and death that your libraries make available plentiful, reliable health information in Spanish.  The article's called Blacks, Latinos, Asians Get Inferior Health Care, Survey Finds.

4. Librarians needed for live online reference in Spanish

You've heard all about live reference on the Web. Some of your libraries are already providing the service: when the patron submits a question, a living, breathing cybrarian uses Internet chat to conduct the reference interview while guiding the questioner through websites, databases, and OPACs that appear in a shared browser.

Sounds great, and it is--but what is there for patrons who don't use English?  Well, 24/7 Reference, one of the biggies in this field with some 50 participating library systems, now offers their service in Spanish.

And that's where you come in.  If you read and write Spanish and want to take a seat at the virtual reference desk, 24/7 Reference wants to hire you.  Doesn't matter what part of the world you live in, and nobody cares how you are dressed or even if you're stark NIFOC; the sole requirement is access to a reliable high-speed Internet connection.  Think DSL or cable.

There's a handy website you can use to inquire about the jobs, or to ask about how to get your library hooked in to this fast-growing service.  Alternatively, you can reach the chief (one of Library Journal's "movers + shakers"!) the old-fashioned way.  Contact Susan McGlamery, 24/7 Reference Project Director, by telephone at  310-391-7444 or by email (is that "old-fashioned" already?) at 

5. Guatemalan rural libraries need you

Denise Westcott, MLIS and her husband Fred have been doing good work in Guatemala for years now with the Rudder Foundation's Association for Support of Individual Charity.  Now her group has devised a way for you go to Guatemala to share your library knowledge with local chapines eager to learn--and, who knows: you might learn a thing or two yourself.  The first two-week ASIC Rural Libraries Program begins June 20;  read the details of the program and see if it's for you.

6. JC López, the genius of SOL

Many SOListas have commented that this site looks better than it used to.  That's true, and the credit goes to the man at left.

JC López is the humble genius behind, a magnificent site devoted to his hometown in Mexico and to the people who left it behind.  It stands as a model for electronic community-building, powerfully transcending the separation imposed by economic exile.  What's more, the site is a rich source of carefully researched information. 

José Cruzz López, son Huandari and daughter Jannini.  The kids' names are Tarascan--the indigenous language of José's beloved Huandacareo, where he and his wife grew up.
That's evident in its newest feature, Puro Michoacán, an encyclopedia of the state's municipios--much like counties--with its surprising and carefully documented details that dance like Monarch butterflies around artfully composed graphic elements.

JC's résumé includes 13 years of agricultural work, most of it around Oxnard.  He has been a radio deejay and a performing musician, and the boxing gloves hanging up near his computer attest to long hours sparring in gyms.

  José at work on Puro Michoacán, late at night, out in the unheated garage of the family's Oxnard, CA home.    

He now works as a computer network administrator, but that's not all: JC designed the new layout of the SOL and PLUS sites and has set Flaco straight on a thousand and one of his blunders. He's also done translating and proofreading of Spanish-language flyers and outreach materials generated by Daniel Robles's staff at the Blanchard/Santa Paula Public Library.  JC's love of knowledge speaks for itself, so it's not surprising that he has a high regard for libraries.  That's where you might find him and the kids on a Saturday.

JC López, with all his talents and passions, is hard to describe but he's easy to like.  Artist, historian, author, activist...check out his work.  Its brilliance jumps off the screen and might just inspire you to do some brilliant work of your own.


7.  PBS series faces Latino realities

Flaco's favorite TV show nowadays is American Family, the saga of a bicultural family's adventures in East LA directed by Gregory Nava and with an all-star cast including Edward James "Pachuco" Olmos, NYPD Blue heartthrob Esai Morales, and, yes, Raquel Welch.  We here at SOL are grateful to Detroit Public Television for putting us on their website dedicated to the program--which would be a richly informative site for you to see even without a link to us.  It's also available in Spanish, so major props to WTVS. 

Check local listings; the current "La llorona" two-parter is really artfully done and wrenching.  Plus, every episode comes with a nice coda in the form of a ten-minute documentary film, one of a series called Realidades that depicts varied aspects of Latino life in the U.S.

This week's piece reveals some takes on Day of the Dead that aren't often presented, looking at the celebration from a largely queer and artsy perspective.  Other films in the series have shed light on jornaleros and told the story of  Tía Chucha's Cafe Cultural, the San Fernando Valley bookstore and arts center founded by Luís Rodríguez (author of the acclaimed Always Running and the recently published The Republic of East LA) along with his wife and another couple.  Libraries in Spanish-speaking communities can learn a lot from bookstores like this one.

8. Family bibliography of YA books in English and Spanish

And speaking of families, the estimable Ana Hartnett at San Antonio Public Library has compiled at splendid bibliography of family-themed Spanish and EnglishYA books and posted it on REFORMANet.  (Hey, if you're not on the REFORMANet listserv, what the heck is your excuse?)

9. Our multilingual multinational pastime

What a treat it was to find in last Sunday's paper a supplement called Major League Baseball en Español, a bilingual bonanza for fans of the grand old game.  It was prepared by MLB, but you won't find Spanish-language content at the league's website.  For those daily reports on your favorite equipos y peloteros, go to the fine ESPN site at

Lest you doubt the tremendous importance of Latinos in the big leagues, here's a thing or two to ponder.  Thursday's USA Today, on page 3C, reported on the $10,000 paid by a rabid fan for a wad of bubble gum.  Why so precious?  Because it's been chewed by Diamondback slugger Juan González.  If you haven't heard about this, a short Seattle Times article explains some of the circumstances of this whole Gonzo Gumgate thing.

And former Seattle shortstop Alex Rodríguez is, you know, the highest-paid athlete in history.  Here's one way to quantify it: A-Rod gets paid, for every single nine-inning game, as much dough as six average public librarians make in a year.  (But, on the other hand, he never gets any of those spiffy totebags given away at library conferences...)

10. Legendary screen star fades to black

María Félix, cinema goddess, icon of Mexican popular culture through most of the last century, passed away last week.  Whether you loved her (as millions did) or took a rather dimmer view (as Carlos Fuentes did in his novel Zona sagrada), there's no escaping the importance of La Doña.  Hear NPR's six-minute audio obit that includes the great Pérez Prado and his orchestra playing "María Bonita," or read what Sam Dillon in the NY Times had to say about the woman who leapt from lovely little Alamos, Sonora straight into movie history.

11. Introductory Internet guide is on the way

Flaco's nowhere near as old as María Félix was, but he's been around long enough to remember when a young fella named Bono Vox, on his first trip around the US, misplaced forever a notebook containing lyrics to the songs for his band's next album. Even though things have turned out fairly well for U2, you'd think the Irish lad's mishap would've taught a lesson to a certain Bibliotecario Bichicori.  But, alas.

Nowadays, ever-tinier storage media make information just so much easier to lose.  Such was the case with the Spanish-language Internet training manual promised back in SOL 72.  Flaco typed it all up and saved it on a floppy, wisely neglecting to carve it into a hard drive.

That little disk has joined, somewhere in the Great Beyond, Bono's notebook, Amelia Earhart's plane, and all evidence of  U.S. participation in last weekend's Venezuelan coup. But never fear.  Long before those other items are found, Ana Álvarez's wonderful Primeros pasos al Internet classroom teaching guide will turn up right here.

12. Pa' chupar los dedos

Waiting in vain for you all to send in sugar-free capirotada recipes can make a guy mighty hungry.  Fortunately, and not surprisingly, Spanish-language recipe and cooking sites abound.  With an Internet connection and a little imagination, the mouth starts watering, the stomach starts growling...

There's a remarkable recipe search engine (Spanish interface) at  The query SALSA got me 2,195 hits, and I wasn't at this site five minutes before I was already scribbling down a recipe for hamburguesas de lentejas (lentil burgers) from an appetizing site at  Different strokes, as they say, for different folks.

Looking for how to whip up Colombian sancocho, Uruguayan tortas fritas, or Ecuadoran guatita?  Look no further than where you'll find links to representative platters of 22 nations (but where dead links litter the table like so many post-prandial dirty dishes...).

Finally, those Web wizards at Multnomah County Library have put together a nice list of other food sites in Spanish, a couple vegetarian hangouts among them:

13. La Opinión surfs the Web

Well, thanks to Henrik Rehnbinder over at the nation's oldest Spanish-language daily for giving us another nice plug (April 7) even if he did resort to that old thing about my tocayo the famous decathlete.  Henrik's "De p@seo por la red" column is a fine place to discover good websites in Spanish and in English.

El Flaco Bruce Jenner es el autor de SOL (Spanish in Our Libraries), una revista semanal para comunicar a sus colegas bibliotecarios sitios e información importante para los hispanoparlantes. Su contenido es variado e interesante.

14. Pep Boys speak Spanish      

We've always had a soft spot for those Pep Boys, whose auto parts and potions have kept our ancient carcachas rolling for longer than anyone in Detroit ever intended.  You might recall that last year Manny, Moe, and Jack helped out the NHTSA with a Spanish-language seatbelt promotion campaign.  The latest is that the Boys' ambitious new ad blitz will be bilingual; here's an excerpt from an April 3 wire story:

Grupo Gallegos, an affiliate of the Richards Group, specializing in communications to the Hispanic market, has developed integrated communication strategies for key markets in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Spanish language advertising will run concurrently...

15. Great Books Foundation turns to Latino literature

Our friend Sandy Shuckett, superhero of the school library world, passes along some news from the Great Books Foundation--many of you host their discussion groups at your libraries.  The GBF describes its "Latino National Conversation" program as

a nationwide initiative to encourage and support discussions of Latino literature in libraries, schools and neighborhood centers. The goals of the project are to bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to discuss timeless questions raised by Latino literature...

It's also worth knowing that those Great Booksters have Spanish-language literature initiatives for young readers in their Conversaciones series.

16. Mexican independent publishers' books available from Aliform   

Latin American literature

For a wide range of Latin American literature in both Spanish and English translation, visit Aliform Publishing and Distribution's website, We now have available the complete book lists of two of Mexico's leading independent publishers, Praxis and Colofón.  See the review of Aliform's Mexico Madness: Manifesto for a Disenchanted Generation, Colombian journalist Eduardo Garcia Aguilar's examination of globalism and the Zapatista rebellion, in the most recent issue of the Delaware Review of Latin American Studies, Garcia Aguilar heads the Latin American desk in Paris for Agence France-Presse. Mexico Madness and the Spanish original Delirio de San Cristóbal: Manifiesto para una generación desencantada (Mexico City: Editorial Praxis, 1998)  are available through ALIFORM,

Odd marketing ploy of the month 

From: Erikka Leyva

Have you heard of the Mis Padres, Mis Maestros/My Parents, My Teachers bilingual parenting video and resource kit?

Erikka Leyva-Vázquez
Outreach Coordinator
El Valor
1850 West 21st Street
Chicago, IL 60608
312-666-4511 x4206
Fax: 312-666-0831

Uh, no, Erikka, we hadn't.  As a matter of fact it wasn't until we did a Google search on the title that we learned the kit, "created to provide parents with information about their critical role as teachers and the difference they can make by becoming actively involved...during their children's first years," is produced by your employer and apparently available free of charge to libraries that contact you.

18. Spanish-speaking day laborers make the pages of RUSQ

The Spring 2002 issue of the ALA's Reference & User Services Quarterly has an article titled, "Service to Day Laborers: A Job Libraries Have Left Undone," a guest column in the Community Building section hosted by the profoundly progressive and humane Kathleen de la Peña McCook.  Check it out, and ask yourself if your library could perhaps have a role in enhancing the lives of these hard-working participants in your local economy.

The much- (and justly) honored McCook is co-author of Library Services to Youth of Hispanic Heritage  (McFarland, 2000), will soon publish Community-Based Public Librarianship (Neal-Schuman), and spends a portion of her relentless energy on the enlightening A-Librarian-At-Every-Table electronic newsletter and website.

19. Meet Trilce Navarrete, rural library promoter  

From: Trilce Navarrete
Subject: Sign me up

 Dear Flaco
 I am the new coordinator for a great new project in Oregon made to promote the use of libraries among the Latin community and raise the literacy levels in general.  I am more than excited to have found your website and would love to be part of the discussions!
We are trying to promote the use of the libraries by programming cultural events in the space and get the word out little by little of the existence of this places in 9 rural communities all over Oregon.  I am trying to find 'artists' in each of the communities who may be interested in spearheading a long-term relation from the Latin community to the libraries as community
centers with all its resources from within.

Trilce Navarrete
Coordinator Arts and Culture in Rural Libraries
Folklife Program
Oregon Historical Society
(503) 306-5290
cell (503) 475-5115

20. Peruvian-born Clara Chu given ALA Equality Award

One of the ALA's more significant honors is its Equality Award, presented each year to someone who works hard to make library services less monochromatic.  In the past the award has gone to such luminaries as E.J. Josey, Patricia Glass Schuman, and Sandy Berman.  This year's honoree has a special place in Flaco's heart because if it wasn't for Clara Chu he probably never would've made it to library school; certainly, her atypical take on LIS education has challenged her students at UCLA to develop new ways of thinking about libraries.  Here's a tribute sent our way by last year's California Library Association president, a great librarian and educator in her own right:

From: Cindy Mediavilla

Dear all:  As many of you already know, Dr. Chu has been named as the  recipient of the ALA Equality Award, to be given at this year's annual conference.  The official ALA press release celebrating this achievement  follows below. 
Clara M. Chu receives 2002 Equality Award -- Clara M. Chu is the 2002 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Equality Award, which recognizes contributions for promoting equality in the library profession. The award, given to an individual or group, consists of a citation and $500 donated by Scarecrow Press, a member of the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group. Chu, associate professor at the Department of Information Studies, University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), is the only full-time faculty member of color in her department.  She specializes in the social construction of information systems, institutions and access to help understand the usage of and barriers to information in multicultural communities.  Current projects include: the role of librarians and educators in facilitating the mediation activities of immigrant children; multicultural information on the Internet; and infrastructure for the preservation of Chinese culture in Latin America.  UCLA students in her department submitted Chu's winning nomination. "Dr. Chu strives toward social justice and information equity in her endeavors both within and outside of academia," Todd Honma wrote. Chu is an active and supportive member of the American Library Association (ALA).  She successfully lobbied the UCLA Graduate Division to allocate funds to match those given out by the Spectrum Initiative Scholarship Awards.   She also is active in REFORMA, Asian/Pacific American Library Association, Chinese American Librarians Association, Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), and a board member of International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Section on Library Services to Multicultural Populations "The ALA Equality Award Jury was particularly pleased that Dr. Chu's nomination came from her students," said Chair Ann Symons.  "Dr. Chu is committed not only to the education of her students, she also works within ALA and her library community to assure the importance of diversity within the library community." Chu holds a Ph.D. and M.L.S. from Western Ontario, and a B.A. from British Columbia. The Equality Award will be presented Tuesday, June 18, during the ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta.

Bruce Jensen

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