Do you want to do the right thing about making your library friendlier for Spanish speakers, and to the Latino community in general, but aren’t quite sure how to begin? If you go here, to the WebJunction site, you’ll be able to download a PDF document called “Evaluating Materials for Latino Children and Young Adults,” an excerpt from a new Neal-Schuman book, Serving Latino Communities by Camila Alire and Jacqueline Ayala. This brief article gives an overview of important points to think about when adding titles – most particularly, that “Latino culture” is not one big thing that’s all the same. There are dozens of nationalities and groups included in that blanket term; there are important linguistic and cultural differences between a rural Mexican family and a Dominican from the big city. Also, a book by a U.S. or British Anglo author that has been translated from English (there are a lot of these out there) and one written in Spanish by a native speaker may be received very differently by the people you’re trying to reach.  This article is an excerpt, and it just sort of ends, but it’s still worth your time to read.

Another site worth visiting is the Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents at the California State University, San Marcos. Here’s a useful database of recommended books in Spanish for school and library collections, sorted by title, subject, grade, and/or age, and searchable in both English and Spanish. There’s also a list of books in English about Latinos and Latino culture. If you’re working to serve Latino members of your public better, pay a visit.

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