.Aula Máxima es la biblioteca y también lugar de recreo del espíritu.   - José Vasconcelos



SOL 79    October 7, 2002 Come next spring, you'll be able to
put this Cesar Chavez postage
stamp on your mail.

It'll be a bargain at thirty-seven
cents, which according to one
fairly recent report is slightly
more than you could earn by
painstakingly picking a five-
gallon bucket of tomatoes in
California's San Joaquin valley.

Your buddy Flaco, normally such an inexhaustible windbag, has lately been far less concerned with acceso a la información than with accesos de tos.  Put another way, for more than a month he's been on a bumpy ride in a pulmonía that's not nearly as fun as those famous go-carts of Mazatlán.

As the ol' beanpole continues to inevitably splinter and sag, he searches more anxiously for people willing to seize, reshape, and maintain the vast SOL/PLUS publishing empire.  Librarians?  Support staff?  Outreach professionals?  MLIS students?  The only thing you need, really, is sincerity.  If you're even vaguely interested, please let me know.

SOL 79 Contents:


1. Big news for small empresas

  6. Online photo exhibit turns to Mexico
2. Larger print in smaller packages   7. Críticas' new bestseller list
3. What if you had to tell a story in Spanish?   8. SOL contest defies gravity
4. Spanish-speaking reference cybrarians   9. One state, one book, two languages
5. Who invited all this information to the party? 10. Latina journalist, publisher of the year

1.  Small Business Administration's new Spanish-language site serves 80 pages of content


Press Release Date: September 12, 2002
Contact: David J.  Hall (202) 205-6697
Internet Address:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration announced today the launch of its new Spanish-language Web site.  The site is aimed at reaching the growing Hispanic business community and the Spanish-speaking community at large with a business tool to help current and aspiring owners to start and grow their businesses successfully.

The site,, responds to the needs of a segment of the U.S. population that, according to the 2000 Census, has grown to become the largest ethnic minority in the country, with more than 35 million people.  According to statistics gathered by a leading Spanish-language Internet provider, 78 percent of all Hispanics have access to the Internet.

“Reaching the Spanish-speaking small business community is an important priority for the SBA,” said Administrator Hector V. Barreto.   “Users visiting our new Web site will find information on how to start and grow a business as well as learn about our valuable programs and services.”

Minority-owned businesses account for more than 15 percent of all businesses in the United States. Of those, the largest share, 39.5 percent (or close to 6 percent of the total) are owned by Hispanics.  Hispanic-owned businesses employ around two million people and contribute more that $200 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

The site will initially have approximately 80 pages covering relevant issues such as writing a business plan, starting your own business, financing your business, technical assistance, accessing government contracts, signage and information for women entrepreneurs.   Also, the site will include its own search engine to make it easier for users to find information and will provide links to other government Spanish-language Web sites.

The SBA Spanish-language Web site is an ongoing project.  “Our goal is to continue to add more information,” said Barreto.   “The SBA is the nation’s small business resource and we intend to be a leading resource for the Spanish-speaking community in the U.S. as well.”

2. Easy on the eyes: Virginia Woolf Foundation

Some of you eagle-eyed youngsters may not have thought too hard about this, but: vision loss is usually gradual.  Which means that when the letters in large-print books get too small, a person can either a) switch to audio books, b) learn Braille, or c) find even larger-print books.

You've probably never heard of anyone doing c), but that's only because you don't know Patricia Price of Vision World Wide or former attorney Mike Gold of the Virginia Woolf Foundation.  The VWF's inexpensive "Text-Key" publications present popular titles—from Dickens to Twain to the Bible—in 30-point and even  48-point type.

Text-Key books are composed in clear Enhanced Letter Format (ELF), fully compatible with the free Acrobat Reader that opens your PDF files, and with readily-available text-to-audio readers.  Full text, big text, all on one thin CD.

Coming soon from Text-Key are books from the Chicken Soup for the Soul and Harry Potter series; they're sure to be soothing and magical for readers relying on failing vision.  Text-Key is also developing titles in Spanish, along with already-published bilingual glossaries for healthcare and library workers.

Find out more, and see a demo, at the Text-Key website.  And give Mike Gold a call.  He'd really love to see more libraries set aside a fraction of an inch of shelf space for this big, beautiful format.

3. Here's how to survive your first solo story hour in Spanish

You're terrified!  The nightmares!  You wake up in cold sweats, seeing little children huddled on the library's carpet, waiting for you to open your mouth and tell them stories in Spanish. 

Oh, suresounded like a great idea at the staff meeting.  You knew there were lots of kids eager for it, so you spoke right up about this bilingual story hour inspiration of yours.  You pumped out the publicity and now folks are ready for the program..  But suddenly your Spanish-speaking parent volunteers say they can't make it, and your bilingual teacher friend is busy that day. 

Over to you.  And you've decided it's so complicated.  You looked in a library magazine where some expert said some Spanish-speaking kids from somewhere don't understand the past tense, or something.  Then you went and chose a book by a Colombian author when your audience skews Mexican, so won't that inevitably mess everything up?  What if you unwittingly say the wrong thing, violate a regional taboo, and then they laugh at your accent?  Or if—

Hey!  Grab hold of yourself!  Do what children's librarians have always done: tell yourself you're a kickass storyteller.  Believe it.  Let that be your first great story.  It's one of those affirmations that makes itself partially true by dint of the self-assurance it gives you.  Kids dig that.

Our buddy Marie Kaneko has been telling stories in Spanish and English for years in the libraries of Commerce, CA.  She wants you to see a reassuring online guide called Story Times for Librarians of Limited Spanish, which will put your fears to rest with practical tips.

Marie also swears by a children's programming site created by Oralia Garza de Cortés and the Texas State Library.  It features not just book lists but also craft projects, games, rhymes and songs in glorious accent-reducing RealAudio.

If it's book lists you want, Marie's got those, too.  The Bibliotecas Para La Gente list is divided into themes (family, friends, food, cats, dogs, jungle animals, forest critters, birds, bears, nighttime, and The Imagination), while that of the Rutgers library school focuses on award-winning English-language and bilingual titles.

Unless you have the time and the money to pick your books off a list, you'll be scoping out your own children's section for likely prospects.  Go with what you like and feel you can confidently manage.  Practice with the book till you're at ease; this is why bathroom mirrors were invented, and tape recorders.

Before you go getting too nervous, though, remind yourself of the purpose behind all this.  You are not the star of this show: the book is the star.  Reading is the star.

And so what if the kids laugh at you?  This is supposed to be entertainment.  You think George Lopez sits around worrying about why people are laughing at him?  I think not.

Finally, you can develop your ear for rhythm, intonation, and pronunciation by studying the wonderful StoryPlace site.  Crank up the audio and then follow along with the cartoons and the corresponding printed text.  Try mimicking the narrator's voice.  This web project is a valuable companion to help you understand how a well-told story in Spanish should sound.

4. The globalization of the reference desk

What what about the folks who wander up to the reference desk, asking questions in Spanish, only to be answered with a cheery shrug and "Noh cumprendooh, sorry."  Where do those people take their information needs?

"Bring 'em to us," say a couple online Ask-a-Librarian reference services.  "Estamos a sus órdenes."

24/7 Reference, based in Southern California, and Library Systems and Services, Inc. (LSSI) of Germantown, Maryland both recently launched Spanish-language interfaces with bilingual librarians behind the curtain.  Though the demo pages are free for anyone to use, the idea is that your library will contract with them and plant a connection icon on your website.

For more specifics about "Bibliotecario a su alcance" contact 24/7's Susan McGlamery; for the details on "Servicios de referencia en español," get hold of LSSI's Denise Shereff.

5. At last: information that really knows how to party

In concert with the debut of their online reference service in Spanish, LSSI rolled out one of the most comprehensive and appealing Spanish-language link lists you've probably ever seen, and gave it the party-all-the-time name of ¡Fiesta Informativa!

With more than thirty topic headings, supplementary subheadings, and brief annotations in Spanish, this is a great place to look if your library's pathfinders need some shoring up

If you want still more—tens of thousands—of indexed sites in Spanish, go to the dmoz open directory.  Or if you want a ready-made, simplified link list with instructions in Spanish for the new Internet user, remember Tu Bibliotecario Electrónico.

6. David Bacon photos document Mexican labor struggles

From: Lincoln Cushing
Sent: Thursday, September 26, 2002
Subject: New labor photo exhibit through Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley

Please check out the third in our popular Labor Photo Exhibit series:
Rebellion on the Border - photographs by David Bacon
September 7, 2002 - January 15, 2003
The full exhibit may be seen online at
These images document two Mexican labor movements
one of independent  unions in the maquiladoras on the US border and another involving bus drivers in Mexico City organizing against privatization.

A reception and presentation will be held in Berkeley on Thursday, October 10, 2002,  5:30-7:30pm, with speakers to include Professor Harley Shaiken and the photographer.
The exhibit and the reception are at the Center for Labor Research and Education/Institute for Labor and
Employment, Director's Room, 2521 Channing Way, University of California, Berkeley, CA  94720.
For more information, call Lincoln Cushing,  Electronic Outreach Librarian, Institute of Industrial Relations Llibrary, at 510-642-1056.

7.  The Críticas bestseller list

Many's the time you've lamented the lack of definitive Spanish-language bestseller lists.  We've noted how they appear and disappear, and even if you do find a timely ranking there's probably something missing.  Amazon's top sellers list in its "En Español" section, for example, reflects only the titles of the small number of Spanish-language publishers and distributors who do business with the Big A.

Críticas magazine, always eager to help, last month introduced its own top-ten list of bestselling books in Spanish in the U.S.  The sales data come from independent and chain bookstores and distributors.  We don't know which ones, or how they're weighted, but Críticas promises to update the list monthly.

8. This book giveaway is rocket science, sort of

Our friends at Rourke Publishing in  Vero Beach, Florida produce handsome, sturdy books for young readers.  Their series on famous inventors has a volume devoted to screen idol Hedy Lamar, who knew her way around a schematic diagram and developed an idea for radio frequency-hopping that is used in the satellite relays of today's Internet.

The series is one of Rourke's Spanish-language offerings, and it's the prize in this issue's contest.  Six volumes, hardbound, reading level 3, grade interest level 1 - 4, library price $77.70.  Shipped to you—yes, you, who haven't won one of these sets from us before—free of charge if you turn out to be the first person to send the correct answer to this question:

Who was the first Mexican to orbit the earth, and what state is s/he from?

When you know the answer, send it into orbit quickly!  The kids are counting on you!

9.  Reading Steinbeck in Spanish

As soon as the California Center for the Book decided to celebrate the centennial of John Steinbeck's birth (Feb. 27, 1902) by inviting us all to read The Grapes of Wrath for its one-whole-state-reads-the-same-thing thing, it took steps to make sure the book would be available in Spanish.  No translation was in print, but by now Las uvas de la ira, in a 2002 Penguin USA edition, is owned by libraries all over California.

Was the CCB's effort worthwhile?  If you have any doubts, read this Oct. 2 San Francisco Examiner story ("Savoring 'Grapes'," by Rachel Howard).  An excerpt:

Judy Iranyi-Stone agrees that almost any Californian can relate to Steinbeck. A retired social worker and native of Venezuela, she's reading the just-published Spanish language edition for her library book club.

"Some people have said to me, 'In Spanish—why?' " she says. "But it relates very much to the Latino community. I think the experience Steinbeck describes in this book might have been specific to the Okies, but there's so many parallels to the immigrant experience and the Latino experience."

She and several members of her book clubs—she's in three—plan to attend multiple readings and film screenings.

"We're doing away with the stereotypes that Latinos don't read, that they're not educated, that Latinos are all the same," she says.

10.  Publishers of Latino newspapers meet in D.C.

The National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) met with power brokers in the nation's capital at the end of September, and honored some of their own with awards for excellence in journalism.   Who's the NAHP?  It's a big organization of people like the ones who publish your local free Spanish-language periodicals.  You know, the ones that report on and document the experiences of local Latino cultures.  Those newspapers.  The ones you probably don't shelve @ your library.

NAHP and NHPF honor Latina Publisher and Latina Journalist of the Year

WASHINGTON D.C. - During the 4th Annual D.C. Media Summit celebrated Sept. 25-27 by The National Association of Hispanic Publications NAHP) and the National Hispanic Press Foundation (NHPF), notable politicians, diplomats, publishers and journalists of the Hispanic print media came together to discuss the state of Hispanic print in the U.S. and to name Dora Casanova de Toro, publisher of Florida's La Prensa as "Latina Publisher of the Year," while honoring Rosa Tequida of La Voz (Phoenix) as "Latina Journalist of the Year."

Dora Casanova de Toro was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her father, a U.S. Army officer, imparted to her a sense of discipline and a vision to work. She has been married to Dr. Manuel Toro for almost 28 years and is a proud mother of five children. For the last 21 years, she has served as the owner, president, editor and co-publisher, along with her husband, of La Prensa.
Since 1991, Dora and Manuel have also published "El Editor Hispano," the first Spanish-language yellow pages directory in Florida. For such success, on September 26, on behalf of the NAHP and NHPF Latina Committee, Clara Reyes from the newspaper Dos Mundos of Kansas City, MO named Toro "Latina Publisher of the Year."

Rosa Tequida was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. She is a graduate in Communications of the University of Sonora and has spent the last 3 years working for La Voz of Phoenix, where she writes on social and health issues. In 2000, she received her first award for her article on the indigenous residents of Phoenix, entitled, "La vida no vale nada," ("Life is worth nothing"). In 2002, she received a second award from the Arizona Press Club for her article "Un héroe del infortunio," ("A hero of misfortune") in which she chronicled the experiences of a Hispanic fireman's visit to New York City after the Sept. 11 attack. The NAHP and NHPF recognized her for her horrifying investigative article, "En dónde están los niños" ("Where are the Children") and named her "Latina Journalist of the Year."

"Latina-owned business is one of the fastest growing business sectors in the nation. About 30 percent of all Hispanic-owned publications are in fact Latina-owned. It is very likely that Latina publications will continue to grow," said Ivonne Cunarro, Executive Director of the NAHP. "The National Association of Hispanic Publication and the National Hispanic Press Foundation will continue working to recognize and highlight the professionalism of Hispanic print publications and journalists on a national level in the U.S."

"We estimate that half of the journalists, designers, editors and sales staff of Hispanic-owned newspapers are Latina. It is fitting, appropriate and timely that the Hispanic press acknowledge the outstanding contributions Latinas make to our community," said Tom Oliver, Executive Director of the NHPF.

The event was attended by numerous distinguished politicians, among them White House Counsel Alberto González and U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, who, through their presence and words for the Hispanic community, lent substantial weight to the event. "I want to recognize the work of the Hispanic publications especially, and all of the people involved, whose strength and dedication have established the Hispanic community here in the U.S.," said Marin.

Established in 1982, the NAHP is a non-profit organization representing more than 200 Hispanic publications nationwide reaching more than 40 million Hispanic readers. NAHP strives to continually inform and educate the Hispanic community, provide technical assistance and improve the quality of Hispanic publications.

The National Hispanic Press Foundation was founded in 1996, dedicated to the promotion and professionalism of Hispanic print and to Hispanic communities in the United States.

Bruce Jensen

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