Sunday, November 16, 2008

La biblioteca y los latinos

In less than one year, two student bloggers have posted about the library in relation to their community-based learning. (Here and here.) I know that some of our students also go to the Urbana Free Library for the Spanish Story Time sponsored by the University of Illinois' Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
A study about Latinos and Public Library Perceptions sheds more light on how Latinos use--or do not use--public libraries. I find their recommendations about how to draw more Latinos to American public libraries very interesting:

1. Get to know your local Latino community. (Go beyond stereotypes.)

2. Advertise the library as a place to learn English.

3. Advertise public access to computers and availability of general information. (It's an important way for many Latinos to have access to the internet.)

4. Inform the community that the library does not share library user information. (Foreign-born Latinos may fear sharing their information in order to get a card.)
As I go about planning the team projects for my Spanish & Entrepreneurship course for next semester, I would love to see one team of students work with the library to enhance their engagement with local Latinos. Perhaps their project could be to implement the policy recommendations from this report.
(Thanks to Norma Scagnoli for sharing with me the "nos incumbe ayudar listserv"; that is where I found this report.)

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