Monday, October 15, 2007

Reaching Spanish Speaking Populations in Your Community

I just returned from a training seminar in Seattle on Reaching Your Spanish Speaking Populations. This information was very useful and I will be presenting the trainings in the NTRLS area this winter and spring - be watching the NTRLS CE page for dates and locations.

Until then, I want to share some practical ideas.

Market your library VERBALLY! Is there a Spanish radio or tv station that serves your community?

Keep it simple - you do not have to tell everything your library provides. Often new immigrants do not understand what is available at a public library - it is a new concept to them. Tie your information resouces with their information needs, ie. Do you need a driver's license? Come to the library and borrow tapes on learning English.

Purchase a variety of materials in Spanish and English. Would you visit a library if they only had 50 English language books? Often we have a very small number of Spanish language or bilingual books - and then wonder why no one comes in to use them. Spanish speakers and readers want what English speaking and reading users want - just in Spanish.

Go to the community - do not wait for them to come to you. It takes time to build trust so don't get frustrated. Contact the churches and schools to find community leaders in the Spanish speaking community and start introducing yourself and your library.

See you this winter and spring for more training!

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