...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


SOL 77   August 13, 2002
SOL 77 Contents:


1. Suburban Spanish speakers

9.  What's a 5-letter word for enjuto?
2. Free newspapers 10. Bookmarks
3. Correo de Salem on the web 11. Women writers spotlighted in new Latinamerican anthology
4. Audio author interviews 12. Mexico's riot grrrls
5. Information is the best medicine, study says 13. El Salvadoran literature shines online
6. Contest answer: 77, or 81, or... 14. Cuba in pictures
7. Take me out to the library 15. Bracero lawsuit
8. TPS 16. Ozomatli, and this issue's quiz

1. Latinos in suburbia

 Those restless researchers and demographers over at the Pew Hispanic Center are always digging up new data that you can use to inform yourself and to open the eyes of funders and library boards.

Roberto Suro (he directs the PHC) and Audrey Singer’s new report finds that the number of Latinos living in the ‘burbs grew by 71% during the 1990s. What’s more, powerful new migration magnets have arisen. Suro and Singer identified what they call "new destinations," 51 of them in 35 states, with Latino population growth in the past 20 years ranging from 147 percent in Knoxville, TN to 1,180% (yes, that’s one thousand one hundred eighty percent) in Raleigh-Durham NC.

"These places are ripe for another decade or two of explosive growth," Suro says. The report charts trends in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Conducted jointly with the Brookings Institution, the study describes major growth patterns, and furnishes detailed statistics on key characteristics of Latino growth across the past three censuses.

2. Whoa, 1,180%?! Are you sure?

Where do all those Spanish-speakers in the Carolinas get their news? A lot of them get it from El Sol, a mighty 48-page weekly with, get this, 12 pages of sports news, and a pretty darn catchy name.

There are hundreds of Spanish-language and bilingual weeklies and monthlies in the U.S. and most of them are free. Can people find such newspapers at your library?

Well, why the heck not?  Flaco wants to know.

3. More nagging about free Spanish-language publications

Many of those newspapers have important information, dazzling graphics, and eloquent writing. The world-renowned author Eduardo González Viaña's delightful "Correo de Salem" column runs in lots of them. His erudite musings, by the way, also reside at his book-length website:

4. You can hear Eduardo, too

The Instituto Cervantes of New York offers a webradio program called Charlando con Cervantes featuring half-hour Spanish-language interviews with such contemporary literary beacons as the ubiquitous González Viaña, the divine Elena Poniatowska, Colombian poet and novelist Alvaro Mutis, Argentina’s Tomas Eloy Martínez, that rascal Carlos Monsiváis, and Puerto Rican novelists Ana Lydia Vega and Rosario Ferré, along with many others:

5. A librarian a day keeps the doctor away

Type 2 diabetes runs rampant among people of color. We’ve all nodded credulously while experts exhort that soul food and frybread and lard and, well, culture explain the whole problem.

Guess again, experts.

A couple weeks ago the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study of 408 English- and Spanish-speaking type 2 patients. "Association of Health Literacy With Diabetes Outcomes" (Schillinger D, et al., JAMA July 24-31, 2002; 288[4]: 475-82) concluded that "inadequate health literacy is independently associated with worse glycemic control and higher rates of retinopathy. Inadequate health literacy may contribute to the disproportionate burden of diabetes-related problems among disadvantaged populations…"  Read the entire abstract online if you don’t believe me.
Your pals at the local office of the American Diabetes Association probably have piles of Spanish-language flyers and brochures they’d love to stick in your library. Have you ever called them?

6. The Tower of Google

The contest in SOL 76 pulled in a lot of answers; a few of them were even correct.  In how many different languages does Google offer a search interface?  was the question.  Barbara "Bibliotecaria" Bibel of Oakland Public Library supplied the first correct answer; it was 77.  By the next day, people were writing in to say it was 81.  They were right, too: four languages had been added that very day..  Sure, a few of them are phony, but still it's an impressive array.  See for yourself.

Barbara won a fine set of kids' books from Rourke Publishing and carried them straight to her friends in the children's room.  The same prize is up for grabs this time.  The final item tells how you can win.

7. Librarians swing for the fences

"Looking for back-to-school ideas? Is your summer reading program in need of some last-minute creativity?" asks a recent ALA press release. If so, it urges you to "Join the Major Leagues @ your library."

No, it’s not that MLB is desperately looking for scab ballplayers in case of a strike. This is a reading promotion campaign. Many’s the time we’ve marveled here that our National Pastime is in truth a Pan-American pastime; surely your local nine has some players who grew up pounding the pelota instead of the horsehide. Now the ALA wants to help you get those guys to chase kids into the bookbarn. Read on:

"This new partnership brings together two American classics – libraries and baseball – to promote 21st century literacy. The Loudoun County (Va.) Public Library, winner of this year's Librarian All-Star Contest…worked with a number of community organizations to promote baseball-themed summer reading programs and produced some very creative displays. A toolkit loaded with ideas on how your library can participate, and more information on Loudoun County, is available online at

"The program runs until September 30 so you still have time to participate…You could help one of your library users win tickets to the World Series!"

Well, "21st-century literacy" just has to be a good thing.  And we’re also strongly in favor of free World Series tickets, if there is one this year. Safeco Field will look great in those crisp October shadows. The ALA site lists a lot of good books and movies, but ignored our suggestion to include Mister Baseball, a classic of crosscultural highjinks with a decidedly gaijin Tom Selleck squaring off against Takakura Ken.

So dream up a brilliant tie-in between beisbol and your biblioteca, and send your success story to Deborah L. Davis, manager of the @ your library Campaign for America's Libraries (312-280-2148) and Lillian Lewis, Deputy Executive Director, ASCLA (1-800-545-2433, x-4396).

8. No, not TIPS…TPS

Right, TPS. The US government affords Temporary Protected Status to certain refugees from Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. This summer has brought TPS extensions, and one reason has to do with lack of awareness. The INS figures that about 106,000 Nicaraguans and Hondurans qualify, yet barely 10,000 had signed up by the original deadline.

Mind you: failure to register can mean jail and deportation. Why aren't people signing up? Is the information not getting out? Could a Salvadoran up against an urgent drop-dead date next month find out about it @ your library?

9. This is fun, despite being educational

Those jolly malingerers at the Spanish-language division of Yahoo! have tracked down a bunch of crossword puzzle and word game websites for you and your idle friends. Find them at

10. Way better than a gum wrapper or a toothpick

Do y’ever open up a book and start reading where you stopped the other day, and then after a couple pages realize that you’ve already read this part? Maybe it’s just me. I never know what to think when I do that. But I’ll tell you—it happens less frequently ever since I started using those handy PLUS Spanish-language bookmarks.

There have been some pleas for one about proper treatment of books. Let me  know what you think of that one, and in a few days watch for a bookmark featuring a great Puerto Rican wordsmith. And friends, we take requests, so don’t be shy.

11. Jersey! First Springsteen, and now this

Librusa reported last week on a new anthology of critical essays analyzing 44 Latinamerican women authors—among them Isabel Allende, Elena Poniatowska, Luisa Valenzuela, Sandra Cisneros, and Laura Esquivel, as well as a number of emerging writers—in a two-volume edition called Reflexiones: Ensayos sobre escritoras hispanoamericanas contemporáneas.

The editrix is Priscilla Gac-Artigas, director of the Department of Romance Languages & Literature at Monmouth University in New Jersey. The publisher, Ediciones Nuevo Espacio, also a Garden State-based outfit, has a catalog with upwards of 30 titles by Latinamerican authors. Along with analysis, this anthology includes bibliographies, bios, and even some exclusive interviews. You can find out more about it at the professor’s website.

12. Attack of the Sirens

And if you like that one, consider acquiring Sirenas al ataque: Historia de las mujeres rockeras mexicanas (1956-2000) by rockin’ sociologist Tere Estrada. It’s a study of Mexican women rockers. Estrada herself is one of those, but she’s also a scholar. Fascinating topic, huh? The book got a good review in Críticas but it’s probably not available from your favorite huge distributor. So why not follow the DIY ethic, forget the middleman, and go straight to the source? You can email the author at or call her up at 55-23-88-52.

13. Next best thing to a pupusa with plenty of loroco

Jorge Montoya and Memo Díaz have constructed a generous site whose foundation is the literature and cultures of El Salvador. There’s more, much more, but if you want to find the work of guanaco poets (like, y’know, Roque Dalton) you can’t go wrong here:

14. Psst…don't worry, your passport won’t be stamped

Although your President and other folks who share his grateful fondness for Florida won’t let you go to Cuba, they can’t prevent you from touring a rich photo gallery maintained by the University of Miami. The new Manuel R. Bustamante Photograph Collection includes more than 600 historical photographs of Cuba, from the turn of the last century up to the 1930s. If you want to see a quick guide and some of the highlights, you can do that, too. But if those 600 photos whet your appetite for more images from a place you might never be allowed to visit, you’re invited to check out the other offerings of the Cuban Heritage Digital Collection.

15. Braceros seek justice, and more plaintiffs

A whole lot of Mexican guest workers who took part in the old Bracero program are picking up momentum on a class action suit to collect on a huge pile of pay that somebody, um, "forgot" to give them. The Bracero Justice the US House of Representatives could help them win compensation; Spanish-language media and other information sources could help deserving men find out about the existence of the suit.

16. Embrace the chaos  

It's a warm summer evening.  Perched up in the last row of the Hollywood seats in the whole place, back there under the trees and only a couple bucks a ticket...Flaco and Ms. Flaco are picnicking and chugging Oregon wine from the 99 cent store, while down on the stagepass me the binoculars, willya hon?way down there on the stage a magnificent 10-piece band o’ brothers…pluricultural, multiethnic, fiercely principled, maniacally polyrhythmic…wails exultantly.  They are Ozomatli: East LA lads who first hooked up during a labor action, the occupation of a city-owned building...since then they have circled the globe, picking up more steam, more chops, and more acclaim with each trip around the planet. You might’ve even seen them on national TV recently…for example when they tore up the Alma Awards before claiming their prize...their Hollywood Bowl set ends too soon...schedule's tight, they need to make way for the headliners, but the hometown crowd won't quite stomping, clapping, screaming.  So Ozomatli carries their instruments up into the seats, improvising like mad as a thousand hands reach out to embrace them...

Is there room in your library for their latest disc?  You listen; you decide.

Ozomatli is our not-so-trivial trivia question this time. Yes, literally: what’s an ozomatli? What language is that? And what's a borrowed word from that language, a word that we English speakers use every day? Three-part question, but pretty easy if you don't think about it too hard.

You can be like Barbara Bibel and win a set of Rourke Publishing’s Spanish-language children’s books. Mind you, you can’t be Barbara—she and her Oakland PL cohorts will sit this one out, to help spread the joy around. This is a $77.70 dollar value, shipped free of charge to the first correct respondent.  Good luck.

Bruce Jensen

Anti-copyright @ 2002 Not-for-profit use encouraged All other rights reserved.