A place to share books, music, techniques, and all things related to bilingual storytime!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fotonovelas for parental involvement at school!

Check out this very cool concept from the National Center for Family Literacy! Funded by a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, they created two fotonovelas (both of which are available in English and Spanish) which teach parents how and why they should be involved with their children's education and schooling. Fotonovelas are a graphic style of book, similiar to a comic book, which are popular in Latin American. They combine pictures and words to tell a story.
The two fotonovelas created by NCFL are designed to help clarify the American expectation of parental involvement in education to people who may come from cultures without such an expectation. They explain such things as parent/teacher conferences and ways in which parents can be involved with children's schoolwork at home. PDFs and videos of these fotonovelas are available for free online. I'd love to see us at the library do something similar where we make videos that demonstrate what kind of assistance students and families can receive at our Homework Help Centers!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Proteja contra los incendios!

Gabriela, my fellow Spanish Program Specialist here at CML, is a woman of many talents! Before joining our team, Gabriela volunteered her time to create this video along with the Columbus Fire Department to promote fire safety to the Spanish-speaking community here in Columbus.

There have been too many stories here in Columbus of fires destroying homes and families in the Latino community. This video is an example of a positive response to such tragedy. I wonder what opportunities there are for us to create other informative videos for our community? What other organizations could we partner with in such an effort?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

10 Random Things

Super Fun Challenge "Thing" from Helene Blowers! 10 random things you may not otherwise know about me...
  1. I'm vegan and I absolutely LOVE food and cooking!
  2. I've spent time in more foreign countries (15) than I have states outside of Ohio (12).
  3. I have two awesome cats: Chino and Zoey (who is 18 and I swear is going to live forever!)
  4. I've been with my amazing significant other for 6 years and we're getting married in late 2010.
  5. I love martial arts, and I train in muay thai.
  6. Though I enjoy a variety of music, it's definitely metal above all for me.
  7. I spend my Sundays watching NFL and have been a Dallas Cowboys fan all my life.
  8. Once upon a time in Northern Laos I ate a bat wing and it tasted like a chili flavored latex glove! Catch me in person for the full details on that one...
  9. I did not have a cell phone until this year when I finally gave in and got an iPhone, and the tech geek living inside of me finally started to blossom.
  10. I am beyond excited for the release of Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland, my all time favorite story! I cannot wait to see what imagery his mind comes up with!

There you go, 10 random things!

L & P #23

The final thing...

I have really enjoyed participating in Learn and Play @ CML for a variety of reasons. First, it gives staff a shared vocabulary. I can talk with my colleagues about the idea of using Twitter or a wiki to streamline our workflow without having to wonder if they know what I am talking about. Second, it lets me as an employee know that my library supports the use of emerging technologies in my job. I don't have to wonder if it is OK for me to set up a wiki or blog about programming because it is clear this is something supported within the culture at CML. Third, through the use of many of these tools I have deepened my connections with co-workers. Whether learning more about their work or personal lives or just having another way to say hello, it has been great to reconnect with fellow co-workers and to meet new ones! Fourth, I have learned more about some new technologies that will be very useful for me in this position, in my involvement with professional organizations, and for my own professional development.

Thanks for extending the time; doing so kept this fun and informative without adding the stressful burden of a looming, impossible-to-reach deadline! All in all, this has been a very cool experience and a model of training it could be cool to see us replicate in the future. I hope the blog remains up so future staff can participate as well!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Educator for a Day

Today I had the opportunity along with my colleague Gabriela to visit the Columbus Bilingual Academy as part of their Educator for a Day program. We were able to visit two of Mr. Holdren's Spanish as a Second Language classes to talk with them about the library, our Homework Help Centers, and to share some bilingual stories. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that nearly all the students already had library cards! We all had an opportunity to practice reading together and drawing and sharing some things from our worlds.

The Columbus Bilingual Academy opened this year on the west side of Columbus for students in grades 4-7. The school is tuition-free and supports a full curriculum in both English and Spanish, complete with after-school activities and clubs! It was wonderful to meet the teachers, staff, and students today. I look forward to visiting and partnering with the school more in the future!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

L & P #21

I am pretty much obsessed with NPR. I seriously listen to it all the time. So I have been into Podcasts for a while now, because as much as I would like to listen to NPR all day while I am working, it's simply not feasible. So, I can subscribe to Podcasts of my favorite shows and listen when it is convenient. They get fed right into my iTunes on my home computer. My favorite NPR shows, by they way, are Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!, This American Life, and Talk of the Nation.

How can libraries make use of Podcasting and webcasting? Check out how New York Public Library is doing it! I think there is real potential for webcasting for libraries. We could be webcasting our author visits so those who can't make the time can still participate, webcasting video for each of the Ready to Read pre-literacy skills modeling ways parents can practice at home, and even replace Dial-A-Story with Download-A-Story for storytime footage with our fabulous staff! Lots of library Teen Advisory Board groups are getting in to creating their own podcasts and distributing them through the library website. I definitely believe this is something we will see more of in the years to come.

L & P #20

Ooops! Somehow I managed to skip two Learn and Play exercises! Allow me to backtrack...thing #20 is on You Tube. You Tube is definitely rad. I use it a lot to find sweet kickboxing matches, especially female fighters as they are not usually on TV. I also like looking up concert footage and music videos.

However, I am going to embark on some shameless self-promotion here to demonstrate embedding video content into a blog. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

L & P #22

I have wanted to use MOLDI for a really long time. I have checked out audiobooks on my home computer before, but I never actually listened to them? Why, you ask? Because I have no desire to sit at home to listen to an audiobook! I like listening to audiobooks when I am on the go, but alas, they cannot be downloaded to my iPod.

But this is changing 11/10! Hooray!!!!!! I really think this (with the proper marketing) will result in much more use. I mean seriously, who uses an MP3 player that's not an iPod? I am curious if the movies will be compatible as well. That will rock.

You can bet I'll be playing around with MOLDI again and checking out everything I can after tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

L & P #19

First, a quick reminder of what this "Learn and Play" business is all about. Helene Blowers, the director of digital strategy here at CML, developed the 23 Things when she was at Charlotte-Mecklenburg County to get staff playing around, learning, and feeling comfortable with Web 2.0 tools. She has brought this program with her to CML as Learn and Play. Since September, staff who wish to participate in the program have been experimenting with various Web 2.0 tools and blogging about the experience. This is useful not only for thinking about ways libraries can incorporate such tools to extend their reach and improve customer service, but also because our customers are using many of these tools. Now when they have questions or want help, we don't have to feel intimidated or stupid because we don't know what they are talking about. Even if we're not experts, we are comfortable enough with the technology to give it a try!

For Thing #19 I took a look at the TechCruch blog, which is part of CML's Toolbox on our Power Tools page. I like it, and so have subscribed to the RSS feed in my Bloglines account. I feel that Web 2.0 technology will probably expand infinitely like the universe, so I want to at least keep my eye on the people who know much more about it than I do. If they start getting really excited about something, I should probably pay attention!

Monday, November 3, 2008

L & P #18

So, I have wanted to set up a Facebook account for a while for professional use. I already have a MySpace account and I have found it to be very useful for keeping in touch and sharing photos, stories, etc. with friends I have made all over the world. But that is definitely separate from my work world! Hence, the Facebook account. I tried to set one up before but I found Facebook to be much too busy for my liking. It looks cleaner now, so I don't know if it has recently changed or what. My greatest dilemma now, however, is that I have found tons of people I met while traveling on Facebook who are not on MySpace. Hmm...shall I set up a separate Facebook account for friends so this one can stay professional? It quickly becomes too much to keep up with!

Anyway, my Facebook profile is brand new, so there is nothing fancy on it, but if you want to be my friend you can find me here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1179271236&ref=profile

L & P #17

So this month has been pretty crazy and Learn and Play has fallen way down on my list of priorities. Today, however, I am taking some time to try and catch up.

Online word processing tools are awesome! They allow people to collaborate on documents from distant lands, as well as making superb backup storage options because they do not take up any room on one's personal hard drives. I have used Google Docs for collaborative and personal endeavors and I find it to be one of the most practical and useful Web 2.0 tools out there. Additionally, this is a great option for staff who are working on documents on our computers and do not have floppy disks/flash drives to save them to.

The only complaint that I have regarding Google docs is its mobile platform. While I can view my docs on my iPhone, I cannot modify them. This is unfortunate. It would be extremely convenient for me to be able to save homework assignments and other things I am working on to Google docs and then be able to work on them whenever I have down time (such as in the passenger seat on long drives, at airports, etc.). Then my iPhone would almost completely substitute for a laptop. I am sure, however, that it will just be a matter of time before this changes. In the meantime, if anyone knows of another online word processing tool which DOES allow the user to modify documents with the mobile platform I would love to hear about it!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Meaningful Programming for Immigrant Populations

On Wednesday, October 1, Sophie Maier of the Louisville Free Public Library and Betty Abdimishani, Rebecca Montano-Smith, and Brian Hocevar of the Lexington Public Library Village Branch presented a session at the Spectrum of the Future, National Diversity in Libraries conference titled "Successful and Meaningful Services for Your Immigrant Populations." As the Louisville area has seen a tremendous growth in immigrants from various parts of the world (Africa, Latin America, and most recently, Iraq), and the Village branch in Lexington is comprised completely of bilingual staff serving a largely Hispanic neighborhood, these presenters were well experienced with working with a diverse community and finding creative ways to meet their needs at the library.

Sophie shared that there is a very active refugee resettlement agency in Louisville, so the immigrant groups coming to settle there are often changing based on what is transpiring in the world at large. This makes clear how important it is to conitinually be assessing who makes up the community one is serving, what their needs are, and how they have changed to know how the library needs to adapt. How does LFPL do this? Sophie visits this agency's ESOL classes weekly to sign newcomers up for library cards and to introduce them to library services. In addition, she is constantly making contact with local cultural organizations share what the library has to offer. Some of the programs created specifically for the immigrant population in Louisville include the English Conversation Club (a place for English learners to practice their skills with native English speakers), and the Bilingual Cafe (Spanish learners and English learners both practice the language they are learning with native speakers). How does she make this work? Well,
  • volunteers participate in both conversation groups, including interns from the local University Latin American studies department and international student groups
  • prompts are provided for those who need something to get them starting speaking together
  • kids are included, as child care can be a barrier blocking participation
  • food, Food, FOOD!
Another cool thing they are doing at LFPL are cultural showcases, in which they invite members of a community to come present elements of their culture (such as dance, traditional dress, food, etc.) for the community at large. Sophie did point out, however, that this can be tricky. The library has found that they have approached some immigrant groups too soon and have found such a showcase to be very difficult for them. They have also found that there can be various perspectives and viewpoints within a culture which can lead to tension when they discuss that culture with the rest of the community. Other programs LFPL has put on for their community include a French Conversation Circle (specifically for African people who speak French), a Spanish Literary Salon, and a Qinceanera program.
The staff from Village branch of the Lexington Public Library, I must say, are some of the most dedicated and passionate individuals I have met in this field (I will be blogging about my experience at Village more later). In this session, they pointed out that for something like what they are doing there to work (completely bilingual staff and collection), they need the will and commitment of their institution to serving the Hispanic/Latino population. They pointed out that it is important to take risks; don't let perfect be the enemy of good! Maybe you'll try something that is a complete flop...this is the risk the institution must be willing to take to determine what will work! They emphasized the importance of all staff being friendly and approachable, making the extra effort to greet all customers as they walk in the door. Think about it in context: for most of us, the library by its very nature is a warm and welcoming place. For those who are not used to libraries in their own countries, the library is a place filled with uncertainty (what is this? who is it for? how does it work? am I allowed to be here?) and this makes it scary.
The programming the Village branch has developed for their community demonstrates what successful partnerships with community organizations can accomplish. For example, the local schools found that Hispanic parents were not attending parent/teacher conferences, so the library suggested that the teachers come to the library for conferences. Guess what...the parents came! They could walk to the library and felt safe there, and showed up in mass to learn how their kids were doing in school and how they could help them do better. Village also secured a grant for programming to help immigrants assimilate to life in the US and to prevent gang violence. They formed a variety of programs for teens with this grant, including an aikido class! Additionally, they bring speakers in from a variety of community organizations to provide "How to..." training for immigrants. Some speakers include bank representatives, officials from the Mexican consulate, and local police. What is the result of this? When the Village community needs information or wants entertainment, they go to the library to find it. Village is the only library I have ever seen that has actually accomplished becoming the Third Place.
How does this apply to CML:
  • What is the vision for services to immigrants in Columbus? What is the city's vision and how does the library fit into it?
  • We should be making contact with our local Refugee and Immigrant services organization to get a grasp of what the immigrant groups here need and how the library can contribute.
  • People want to learn English...what are we doing to meet this? English conversation groups require little to get off the ground and basically come to run themselves...
  • Would love to do some type of cultural showcase. Any branch doing anything like this?
  • Bringing in community representatives to talk to immigrants about how to assimilate (get a bank account, fill out school paperwork, etc.) is brilliant!!!! Are we even thinking about programming for adult communities anymore? Certainly, helping immigrants learn about the ins-and-outs of living in the US has an impact on young minds...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Month

Tonight in storytime we celebrated Hispanic Heritage month with folktales from Latin America, and it was muy divertido! With vacations and conference travel this month, I had not seen most of my regular kids in a while, so it was great to see them enjoy these stories. Of course, we opened with our regular cancion, "Hola Amigo" by Dr. Jean. Then we read Conejito, un cuento de Panama. This story takes a folktale and weaves in lyrics of a traditional song "Tia Monica" (check out Jose-Luis Orozco's version on Diez Deditos) for a cute story about a fat little rabbit who outsmarts un zorro (fox), un tigre (tiger) y un leon (lion). After that we danced with our deditos, pies, rodillas, caderas, manos, y cabezas to the tune of "Los ninos cuando bailan" from A bailar! = Let's Dance!

The icing on the storytime cake, however, came in the form of a beautiful brand-new flannel my very talented co-worker Andrew Dittmar made to tell the story of The Bossy Gallito = El gallo de bodas. Kids and parents both enjoyed this cumulative tale of a very bossy (and exquisite) little rooster! And of course, it's not really storytime unless we end with our goodbye song, "Adios amigos!"
This was a great program, lots of fun...feel free to steal it! I mean it! And share some ideas with me as well...what are you doing in your programs to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

National Diversity Conference - Details coming soon!

This past week I had the privilege to attend the National Diversity in Libraries conference in Louisville, KY (a million thanks Todd and Martha for agreeing to send me to this event!). I am coming back inspired and recharged, and my eyes have been opened to issues I was not quite in tune with, looking at the world through my own limited POV.

I have a lot of great information to share from this conference and it will be coming in bits and pieces. Blogging is not hard, it is just sometimes hard to find the time to keep up with it! So instead of laying everything out in one post, I'll be adding smaller posts about specific sessions. I feel the knowledge and networking gained at this conference will help me not only as a Spanish programmer, but also in my work on the CML Diversity Committee and the OLC Diversity Awareness and Resources committee.

I will share with you now the most brilliant and provacative thing I heard at the conference. Jose Aponte shared how his library system partnered with the San Diego health department to address two critical issues in the Latino community in San Diego: a lack of books and poor health conditions. How did they fight these problems to uplift the community? The library purchased a vehicle similar to the type of truck used for taquerias (mobile Mexican fast food restuarants) and turned it in to a bookmobile. They took this bookmobile out into the Latino communities equipped with bilingual staff and a clinic nurse! Let me say that again: they brought books and a nurse to the community on a familiar-looking (trustable) vehicle, with bilingual staffing!!!! This is an incredible and creative effort to truly change the lives of the community, and proof that this library knows their community and is invested in making an impact there!

Applying this to my position, I realize how much work I have to do. What are the needs of the Latino community in Columbus? What about in Whitehall specifically? How can CML creatively partner with other organizations serving the Latino community to avoid a duplication of effort and accomplish more with less?

Friday, September 26, 2008

L & P #16

What fun topics in the sandbox! I look forward to learning more things about about my co-workers. I have not yet added my blog to the list because the page was being edited by someone else and I can't wait around all day! I'll get it later...

L & P #15

Yes, wikis can work for libraries! These are especially useful for internal purposes. So, CML, give us some guidelines on how we can actually use this for work! For example, I created a wiki a while back using PB Wiki that was designed for staff working with the ESOL population. The point was to have a centralized location where staff looking for information to better serve this population could begin their search. This could help avoid a duplication of work, as staff could also post information to the wiki. But this didn't really go anywhere because it is unclear how we can use such technology at work. Here are some questions:
  • Can staff create and share work-related wikis?
  • Who is responsible for moderating content?
  • Should content be password restricted (if so, who has access) or publicly accessible (ala, "The Transparent Library")?
  • Which wiki software should we use?

I am very excited that we are learning about these Web 2.0 technologies, but I wonder what we are going to do with this knowledge. Is there a plan or goals for how we will be integrating this new knowledge into our jobs? Is it a free for all for staff to create and distribute any content they desire? If there is a vision of what CML 2.0 is going to look like, I would love it if such vision was shared with all of us...

L & P #14

I am currently reading the Library and Web 2.0 articles and these are my thoughts:
  • The critical element of Library 2.0 has less to do with technology than it does with one key philosophy of how we should structure our service: It's all about the customer! There is no excuse for not focusing completely on giving the customers what they want in the ways they want it delivered. There is no room in Library 2.0 for the librarian who does not buy in to this philosophy.
  • How is CML measuring up on this? Clearly this philosophy is embraced at the highest levels or there would be no Learn and Play, but how well does it trickle down? It matters little how much Administration wants CML to be Library 2.0 if the everyday staff working with customers do not understand what it means, why it is important, and live it in all their interactions with customers.
  • I'd love to see OCLC take their Open WorldCat a step further and create an iPhone app. This type of tool could connect users (granted, a limited demographic of users) to their local libraries all over the country. See my previous blog post on why I think a library iPhone app is a good idea.
  • Westerville PL subscribes to a service that catalogues websites and integrates them into their OPAC. The result is that when users search the catalog for information on a subject, not only are books and journal articles retrieved, but reliable websites are as well. A customer, then, knows s/he can start a web search from home or wherever at the Westerville library online and get a manageable number of reliable web resources. I don't have any idea how often customers actually do this, but I think it is a really cool idea.
  • As we embrace new technologies and the new methods for delivering information that customers want, I believe it is critical to remember that libraries have a role to play in leveling the playing field so that all people have access to free information. We must not abandon those segments of our population who do not have advanced technology skills or online access. The digital divide is still very real and in these economic times, it is unlikely that this will be changing anytime soon.
  • It would be cool to see Ready to Read on Twitter. Parents, sign up to follow us on Twitter for daily tips and resources on how to get your kids Ready to Read!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

L & P #13

I have had a delicious account for a while, and I think it is a great tool. It is extremely convenient to be able to access my bookmarks from any computer (or any other tool one can use to access the Internet), instead of only having them on my home computer. I also like that I can categorize them and quickly browse through the pages I have marked on a certain subject. The cool thing about organizing with tags instead of folders is that I assign a variety of tags to a site, instead of having to choose just one folder in which to store it. Delicious helps me also to keep track of cool pages that I find which I may not want in my list of frequently used bookmarks, but that I would want to remember and come back to at a later time.

I have not really explored much with the social networking aspects of delicious, however. To be completely honest, too much social networking goes across the line from being convenient to being another time-waster, in my opinion. I like the way HFAR is using del.icio.us, and I think this is a great example of how libraries can use this tool. We make booklists and pathfinders to distribute to customers; delicious essentially allows us to create multiple pathfinders of online resources which customers can access in one place. How cool!

I do have a gripe, though. Why do we not have a delicious button on our toolbar???? We get to see how great this tool is, but we cannot use it at work, because we have to continually re-install the button to save sites. Personally, I think this is ridiculous and I hope it gets changed!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Toronto Public Library

For anyone who doesn't know, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world, filled with immigrants from all over. This "Newcomer Information Service" booth is one of the first things one comes across upon entering the Toronto PL. It is part of a partnership between the library and the YMCA. A YMCA staff member is there to provide information and referral services. The fifth floor houses a multimedia language learning center...very cool! There are over twenty workstations with a variety of AV equipment (TVs, CD players, cassette players, etc. and even several stations with adaptive technologies for the physically handicapped) which customers can use specifically to study a language.
Their partnership with the YMCA makes me wonder if we could partner with the Global Malls in Cbus to provide something similiar in their building with library staff who speak additional languages and can also provide other types of reference...
At any rate, it's a cool library and I'm glad I was able to visit on this trip to Toronto. I do look forward to the day, however, when libraries are seen as the hip, progressive centers of free access to information for all that we are, so that telling friends in other cities that I want to visit their library does not result in baffled looks and fits of laughter! We must sell our story!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

L & P #12

I love Twitter! I was really skeptical when I first heard about this site, but microblogging is fantastic. It is such an easy way to keep track of random thoughts or share something cool or funny with friends. Unfortunately, nearly none of my friends are using Twitter yet, so I am mostly just sharing random thoughts and funny moments with myself! Now that I have a phone, Twitter is easy to update. I can't explain exactly what the draw is, because I am normally a pretty private person, but I really do think Twitter is cool. I think it could be a lot easier for libraries to use Twitter to engage the public than blogs are too, simply because they do not require much time to update. With blogging, I feel like there is pressure to post something really insightful and at least a couple of paragraphs long (except for Learn and Play posts), and that pressure is not there with Twitter updates.

Anyway, you can be my friend and learn all sorts of things about me at http://twitter.com/paleopal.

Library Catalog App for iPhone

So this has nothing to do with Learn and Play or with bilingual programming, but I was thinking how cool it would be if there was an iPhone app for a library catalog. In this way, when a user is out at a book store, or hears something on the radio, or is talking with friends and thinks, "I wonder if the library has that...," the user could quickly access the library catalog and find out. The user could reserve the item right then, or suggest a title to us if we don't have it. Sure, you could get online and surf over to your local library and browse their collection, but being one touch away is much quicker and easier for the user. Additionally, with a branded app right there on the homescreen, the customer is seeing that brand image regularly and in a positive way as they use their iPhone to connect with all types of information. Many social networking sites and businesses are already offering such free apps.

I have no idea how one would develop this or if any other libraries are already working on such a thing. But I can't help but think, if it's possible for businesses, if it's possible for social networking sites, if it's possible for wikipedia, why not for libraries?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

L & P Thing #11

I have heard about LibraryThing before but I have not played around with it because I already have a Goodreads account. I have a Goodreads widget imbedded in this blog, actually, so that readers can see some of the books I like for bilingual storytime to the left of my posts. But I must admit that LibraryThing is pretty cool. I like the layout much better than Goodreads. One of the things that drives me nuts about Goodreads is the constant updating from my friends, which is impossible to turn off (or, at least, I do not know how to do it). I am really not all that interested in what my friends are adding; and if I do want to see what my friends are reading, I want to peruse their shelves at my leisure as opposed to having their new content pushed on me. The social aspects of LibraryThing seem to be better structured. At least, I prefer being about to look through similar tags and then subscribe to RSS feeds for the users I have things in common with over having yet another social networking site filled with even more "friends." However, being able to only add 200 books is a very real limitation. Anyway, here is the link to what I have set up thus far: http://www.librarything.com/catalog/paleopal. We'll see if I invest the time to grow my library beyond these first entries!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

L & P #9

How do I find RSS feeds? Well, I just look for the orange box when I'm checking out stuff that I am interested in anyway. I really dig the way Aquabrowser and Ebay allow you to customize feeds based on what you are searching for and interested in. This also helps me keep up with publishers who release translations of picture books in Spanish.

L & P #8

I love RSS!!!! Huge timesaver and keeps me from forgetting things. Here's the link to my Bloglines account (though I hear Google reader is pretty sweet...)


L & P #6 Continued...

OK, I take it back. This Flickr app is totally cool and I found it on a co-worker's blog. Aw, all this learnin' and playin' is paying off!

It's really hard to sit still sometimes...

This actually works as an image generator for Thing #10 as well, so I am going to use it as such. I made a hilarious avatar for myself from the image generator linked to "The Generator Blog," but the link to email it was not working, so alas...no avatar. But this will work.

It's crazy how I feel so blessed to have done the traveling that I have, but when I look at it on this map, it seems like so little!

So much world...so little time
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

L & P #7

One main thing in the technology world has captured my interest this week: the iPhone. I've been wanting an iPhone for a while, which (to anyone who knows me at all) is pretty shocking. I have not had a cell phone since 2003; a friend described them as "mechanical leashes" and I couldn't have agreed more, and that was that. But I am ready to invest in the iPhone basically because it is the Leatherman of phones. To be able to accomplish all that it has to offer with one device (not to mention store so much music, which for anyone who knows me understands that this is a high priority) is too much to resist. The technogeek inside me is ready to bloom! This week Best Buy will begin carrying the iPhone at the same price point as the Apple store and AT&T. Why am I waiting to purchase it there? Because I know myself very well, and Best Buy is offering a service plan that Apple does not. Just in case some type of smashy situation should arise, I want it to be covered!

So yes, miles behind the pack I will be getting the most basic piece of technology we all can't seem to live without these days. Somehow I still suspect only about 3 people will have my number...

L & P Thing #6

I have to admit it...I don't really get in to Flickr. Allow me to explain. Personally, I think it is extremely convenient to be able to manage your photos and back them up online, allowing or not allowing others to view based on preference. Professionally, I think it is an excellent way for libraries to keep their services in the public eye. Clearly this tool is valuable. It's just not one that excites me all that much. The mashups are fun and I'm sure there are a lot of practical things one can use them to accomplish, but a lot of them just seem like easy ways to waste a lot of time. For example, I played around with the montages and I don't really see how this tool will be all that beneficial to my personal or professional endeavors. But hey, we don't have to get excited about every Web 2.0 tool just because it's out there, and it is still great to be aware of the types of things we can do with them so we can best serve our customers when they have questions.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thing #5

So my first experience at a national conference (ALA Annual 2008 in Anaheim, CA) felt a lot like my first day at college: the campus was sprawling, I struggled to figure out where I was going, and I felt desperate for a friendly face to talk to! Thankfully, I felt much more comfortable and was well in my element at the OLOS Diversity Fair. This is a photo of my presentation at the Diversity Fair that I found on Flickr and was posted by WebJunction. It was a wonderfult experience to talk with colleagues interested in Spanish outreach from all over the country; some have long been making a strong effort to serve their Spanish-speaking community and others are just getting started. Other presentations at the fair where incredibly interesting, including a presentation about the "Conexiones que cuentan" project from the Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, and outreach to seniors through gaming from the Lexington Public Library. And after meeting so many people at the fair, I felt at ease for the rest of the conference as a friendly face was never too far away!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

7 1/2 Habits...

Task 2 of Learn and Play @ CML involved learning about the 7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners. Most of the habits are about attitude; for example, do you allow problems to be roadblocks which impede your success or do you view them as challenges and find creative ways to hurdle past them? This particular habit (#3, View problems as challenges) is one that I find difficult at times. When I look back on my life, it is very clear that the greatest learning and most rewarding experiences I have had, have risen from challenges which I have had to overcome. So I do recognize the value in this type of struggle. But, being honest, I must admit that frustration and stress have been a big part of that process! I feel a way in which I can improve on this is to step back from problems and try to look at them from another perspective. Maybe someday I will even feel excited about the opportunity to find creative solutions to probl...*er*, challenges! In contrast, Habit #2, Accept responsibility for your own learning, is probably the easiest for me. Whether it's formal education, travel in foreign lands, learning a language, or picking up a new hobby, I am not able to just be still without developing some type of new knowledge for very long!

I am loving the structure of Learn and Play so far. It's fun, and is providing the opportunity to learn more about other staff scattered throughout the system. I'm looking forward to what the remaining weeks have in store!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

¡A Bailar!

I have to share this great new CD that I just discovered for bilingual storytime (thanks Robin!). The CD is called ¡A Bailar! Let's Dance! Spanish Learning Songs by Jorge Anaya. Many of the 16 tracks are movement songs, which are great for giving kids a break to get up and move a bit between stories. Kids can move las manos arriba, abajo, adelante, y atras as they sing track #2, "El baile de las manos." Widely recognized tunes are included in Spanish such as "Cabeza y hombros" (Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes) and "Brilla, brilla, estrellita," (Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star). And the best part? It doesn't sound like kids' music! You know, the cheesy synthesizers and drum machines that can make even the most passionate children's programmer wince...Instead, the songs all have a Latin beat easy to move to which is sure to even get parents' toes tapping! I definitely recommend checking this one out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Play at Work!

Sometimes I have to just take a moment to remember how lucky I am to be getting paid to do something I love...

Anyway, CML has just kicked off its "Learn and Play @ CML" program based on Helene Blowers' 23 Things. This is a program designed to get our staff learning about Web 2.0 technologies together and on work time! I am especially excited about this because I have let the blog fall behind in recent months, as I did not know if it was acceptable to contribute to it on work time. It is a great feeling to now know that my organization is supporting the sharing of knowledge and experience with colleagues in this way!

We are in Week 1 of "Learn and Play" which opened with a bang yesterday with a presentation from Michael Stephens on The Hyperlinked Library. The basic idea? Be involved with your community wherever they are, both physically and virtually, and go out of your way to remove any and all barriers that may be keeping them from using the library! One of the most important things to remember, I think, as we embrace Learning 2.0 is that the Web 2.0 technologies are tools we can embrace to accomplish this, but perhaps even more important than learning the tools is the mindset shift required to really put the library out there and available on our cusotmers' terms.

As someone who works with the underserved striving to remove barriers to service, I look forward to our culture at CML embracing this mentality and am extremely excited to be part of this program...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Successful Outreach is Key!

Those working with Spanish-speaking communities may find that library service is not necessarily an "if you build it, they will come" situation. Just because a library develops a Spanish language collection or begins offering a bilingual storytime, it will not necessarily result in increased library use by the Spanish-speaking population. You know they are out there, you have services for them, but they still aren't using the library. What should you do?

The answer to that question is outreach! There are a variety of great resources available which discuss the necessity and benefits of library outreach to Spanish-speaking communities. To sum up a key point, public library services as we offer them in the United States are not the norm in Central and South America. It could very well be possible that your Spanish-speaking community is not using the library because they simply do not know that they can, or how to, or why they should. It is up to YOU to spread the word!

I would like to share two successful outreach endeavors which I recently engaged in, in order to promote library services to residents of the Whitehall, OH Spanish-speaking community. It is my hope that these endeavors could serve as a case study and be replicated by other libraries struggling to connect with their Spanish-speaking residents.

Partnering with an ESL teacher
During the summer of 2007 I was fortunate enough to meet Stella Villaba, an ESL teacher for the Whitehall City School District. Stella is a passionate teacher and an avid library supporter. When I first met her, she was very happy to distribute information in Spanish about the library to her students and her families. Later during the school year she approached me about putting together some type of presentation for the families of her students. She was finding that they often did not know about the variety of services available through the library, such as the Homework Help Centers and the Fresh Start program, which allows customers to read-off their fines twice a year. We decided to develop a Library Orientation and Tour. On May 11, 2008 we welcomed about 35 people to the library for a bilingual presentation which explained the basic details of how to use the library and what types of services the library has to offer. It was a huge success, which wrapped up with participants taking a tour of the library and with some getting new library cards!
This particular strategy could be replicated anywhere to bring in immigrant families who may not be aware of the library. If you are not bilingual and the language barrier is an issue, perhaps a local teacher or volunteer would be willing to translate in order to present the information bilingually. Even without the tour, making contact with local ESL teachers to let them know what services the library has to offer to support their services will likely result in that information being spread to families.

Visiting an adult ESL class
Rather coincidentally, the same week we put together the library tour, a local adult ESL teacher contacted the Whitehall library to come speak to the children of the students about Summer Reading Club. Throughout the course of this conversation it was discovered that the entire ESL class was Spanish-speaking. When the teacher learned that a Spanish-speaker was available to come talk with the students about the library she was ecstatic! The following Monday, May 13, we gave the same presentation at the adult ESL class which meets at a local church. The group of about 25 was delightful to work with. I was amazed how many questions they had which I was able to answer. The group was very enthusiastic about the library, and it has since been arranged that our Bookmobile will visit the church before the ESL class each week this summer!

At my library, due to a lack of Spanish-speaking staff, we are following a model of Spanish customer service which ALA President Dr. Camila Alire describes in her book Serving Latino Communities: A how-to-do-it manual for librarians. I have a standard shift that I work to provide customer service in different branches once a week. I saw the impact of this outreach the very next Wednesday when I was working my weekly shift in Whitehall; seven people from the presentation at the ESL class came to the library!

So get out of the building and spread the word, or find creative partnerships to invite people in! Be proactive about letting potential customers know what you have to offer them and you are likely to see them take you up on it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dora the Explorer on NPR

Sure, we all know that Dora is the star of a great educational television program on Nickelodeon that kids just can't get enough of, but there is so much more to learn about her! A variety of consultants help make Dora the stereotype-smashing, Spanish-speaking, pan-Latina superstar she is. Listen to this story, Me Llamo Dora, from NPR's Morning Edition to find out how Dora, her name, her style, and more came to be.

If your library is having an event for El Día de los Niños, be sure to register with the Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC) database, and receive 200 complimentary bilingual brochures featuring Dora to promote Día and literacy!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

¡Canta con alegría!

I strive to incorporate Spanish movement songs into every bilingual storytime. This helps develop phonological awareness, provides an easy way to remember new Spanish words and phrases, and helps get the wiggles out of the little ones! I have found that some otherwise wonderful Spanish songs, however, are too advanced for a bilingual storytime. Those with less developed skills in Spanish have trouble following along. These are my favorite Spanish and bilingual songs which I have found to work very well in bilingual storytime.

By Dr. Jean Feldman on Ole! Ole! Ole! Dr. Jean en Español
  • "Hola amigo" This is my standard opening song. Great for preschool and kindergarten children.
  • "Tu ti ta" Super silly!
By José-Luis Orozco
  • "Pajarito" on Canto y Cuento. Kids sing, jump, fly, eat, drink and sleep like a bird.
  • "Ruedas del camión" on Diez Deditos. "Wheels on the Bus" in Spanish. Even though this song is all in Spanish, bilingual groups can follow along easily, as kids who don't understand Spanish will still recognize the song. Good idea to quickly go over the motions before starting the song.
  • "El chocolate" on De Colores. Traditional rhyme from Latin America. Great for phonological awareness! I like to spell CHO-CO-LA-TE out on the feltboard before singing the chant.
  • "La araña pequeñita" on De Colores. "Itsy Bitsy Spider" in Spanish. This is a nice one for toddlers too.
By Sarah Jordan on Bilingual Preschool English-Spanish
These songs are a bit of a mouthful, as they are all bilingual. However, they are great fun! These songs would probably work very well in a tandem style bilingual storytime, with one presenter singing along in each language. Or, if you are not bilingual, sing along in English and let the CD do the Spanish. This is a very low pressure way to add español to your storytime!
  • "Follow the leader/Sigue al líder" Gallop like a horse, waddle like a duck, hop like a frog, and fly like a bird. Great for farm themes or to get those kids up and moving! Works best for preschool and school age kids.
  • "Groovin' and Movin'/Ritmo y movimiento" Who are los chicos más animados?
Another great standby when the wiggles start creeping in is an impromptu version of "Cabeza, hombros, rodillas, pies"..."Heads, shoulders, knees and toes" in Spanish! Mix it up by going really slowly and then very fast. Don't forget the ojos, orejas, boca, nariz!

What music do you find works well in bilingual storytime? Do you also use any of these songs?

Friday, March 14, 2008

What is bilingual programming?

There are many ways to offer bilingual programs to children. Some libraries, such as the Kenton County library in Kentucky, offer bilingual storytimes using a tandem format. In this method, a programmer partners with a Spanish speaking customer or educator to provide stories in English and Spanish. They may alternate in various ways, such as reading each page first in one language and then the other. This is a great option for non-Spanish speaking programmers who serve Spanish speaking children and families. If a dedicated partner is available, such a program can be offered on a regular basis. This is also an option for large programs around holidays (such as El día de los niños). Inviting a parent to participate in such a program is a way to really involve your Spanish speaking customers in the library.

Because I speak
English and Spanish, I am able to provide bilingual family storytimes solo. I use a variety of storytelling techniques in order to reinforce vocabulary in both languages. For example, I may share a draw-n-tell story mostly in English, interjecting key Spanish words which are reinforced by the drawing, repeated throughout the story, etc. Flannels also work well for reinforcing vocabulary, and are an option for stories you want to share but do not have available in a Spanish or bilingual book. I will vary the dominant language of the storytime based on the language ability of the group in attendance. However, the books and songs we use each week are always either bilingual or in Spanish.

Though speaking Spanish clearly makes it easier to offer bilingual programs, I really encourage non-Spanish speaking programmers who work with Spanish speaking families, or have large numbers of Spanish speaking residents in their service areas, to give Spanish a try in storytime. Books by Susan Middleton Elya and Ginger Foglesong Guy make it really easy; just check the pronunciation of the Spanish words ahead of time!

Do you work in a library that offers bilingual programs? How do you do it?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

General Guidelines of the Blog

Seems like a necessary measure to elaborate on what is expected and what I plan to provide in this blog. Here goes:
  1. In this blog, I plan to share great books and music I come across for bilingual storytimes, storytelling techniques which work well in a bilingual format, and anything else that seems useful to share with others offering bilingual storytimes in their libraries.
  2. This blog is intended to be used by anyone working to cultivate a love of reading and an appreciation of language in children. I offer a library perspective, but I welcome the thoughts and experiences of teachers, parents, and others working with bilingual children as well.
  3. I do not have many colleagues providing bilingual storytimes near me in Columbus, OH, so I welcome comments and feedback from colleagues in other locations. This blog will work best if it is collaborative in nature, so please share your thoughts!
Thanks for stopping by the blog...my hope is that it will be a useful tool!

¡Hola compañeros!

Hello world! I'm setting up this blog to share tips, tricks and interesting stories as I learn from my work providing bilingual (Spanish/English) storytimes for families at Columbus Metropolitan Library. Bilingual storytimes are a great way to show your Spanish speaking community that there are library staff available to help in their language! Non-Spanish speakers can also incorporate bilingual techniques in order to add cultural diversity to their programs and create a welcoming environment for their Spanish speaking customers. It is my hope that this blog will be a collaborative space to gain and share ideas related to bilingual programming and general service to Spanish speaking children and their families in the library.
In this first post, I'm including a list of links to sites which have valuable information for planning bilingual storytimes, as well as libraries which are offering unique or interesting services to their Spanish speakers.
  • I attended one of the Spanish Language Outreach trainings offered by Webjunction in spring 2007. I highly recommend it! Their website is incredibily useful for any staff who work with Spanish speakers, or who have Spanish speakers in their community. Find signage, archived webinars, case studies of libraries around the country, and all the materials provided in their training by clicking their link.
  • REFORMA is the National Association for Library Services to Latinos and the Spanish speaking. A lot of great information related to serving Spanish speakers in general can be found at their website. The listserv is a great source of current information. REFORMA members have also been very helpful as I've had programming questions.
  • The Village branch of the Lexington Public Library has a completely bilingual staff with a variety of cool services, including bilingual storytime, homework help, and the bilingual café!