Viva! Van: Friendly Outreach to Hispanic Patrons


Here's a Virginia librarian who understands the difficulties in reaching an immigrant population and has found a way to build trust and make library services available to a fast-growing Hispanic population.

The idea came from a county group called Hispanic Outreach Leadership Action (HOLA). One of its officers is Lydia Gonzalez, 67, president of the local library board. Gonzalez said she came up with the notion because she knows what it feels like to be an outsider in a new community and how one connection to a local institution, such as the library, can make a difference.

More here from theWashington Post.


The hispanic and Spanish speaking population in my library's service area is expanding daily. This article was great. I only wish we had the resources.

One of the things I wanted to do was establish a Spanish Language collection, even before I was hired I told them I was going to the book fair in Guadalajara. So I have established a small collection of about 250 books and I add a few more each week. My single copy of El Codigo DaVinci has 4 reserves so the Spanish speaking people who go to the library know what is there.

The key however is to get the word out to those who don't know about the library. There are several Spanish language newspapers that cover the Tampa Bay area and one of them is coming this week to do a story on our growing collection.

I have applied for 2 grants and I'm sure I will apply for more, but I would like to put up a display of free books in a few of the local Mexican and Latin American stores. They had some good ideas in the article that I can apply locally. This is what I like about librarianship, not fixing the copier or listening to people complain about having to wait for a computer.

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