Illinois librarian helps reach out to Latinos

Contact: Megan McFarlane
Campaign Coordinator
312-280-2148
mmcfarlane@ala.org

NEWS
For Immediate Release
November 25, 2008                                                                

(CHICAGO) “I can help you” are words that resonate with librarians and library users alike.

Semiramis M. Grady, a librarian from Illinois, is one of the voices in a radio public service announcement (PSA) effort that reaches out to the nation’s Latinos. She is part of the team that helped create “en tu biblioteca,” ALA’s outreach campaign in partnership with Univision Radio recently.

As part of the campaign, two PSAs featuring Univision Radio personality Javier Romero and Grady are airing in nine of the country’s top Latino markets, including Austin, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Antonio, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Grady says that the PSA’s key message - “Yo te puedo ayudar” (“I can help you”) - sums up her job as both an interlibrary loan bibliographic assistant at the Metropolitan Library System in Burr Ridge, Ill., and as a reference librarian at the Cicero Public Library in Cicero, Ill.

In its search to find an authentic librarian voice, ALA reached out to Patricia Conroy of the Cicero Public Library and president of the Midwest Chapter of the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA). Conroy sent a message to all Spanish-speaking librarians in the area asking for volunteers to record the PSAs.

When Grady received the message, she called ALA immediately.

“The campaign is for a good purpose,” said Grady regarding her response. “It’s something I live for.”

The “en tu biblioteca” (“@ your library”) campaign was developed with Univision Radio and the ALA to reach out to encourage members of the Latino community to use their local library. The campaign communicates how libraries create opportunities for Latino adults and their children by providing trusted help from librarians and free public access to information.

Grady has been working in libraries since she was old enough to have a job. She started s out as a shelver at the Cicero Public Library. Through her high school and college years, Grady continued to move up the ranks at the library, eventually switching from a major in pre-med to one in history, and then earning a graduate degree in library science.

Although Grady works full time for the Metropolitan Library System, she continues to work part-time at the Cicero Public Library because she enjoys working with the community’s large immigrant community.

“Working with children, teens and parents, helping them find information on their health, find jobs and study is very rewarding,” said Grady.

Librarians across the country can listen to and download the PSAs featuring Grady in English and Spanish at www.entubiblioteca.org/bibliotecarios.  Free downloadable posters, flyer and bookmarks are also available on the Web site, which was created to be a companion Spanish-language site for the public to support the messages of the radio PSAs.

The “en tu biblioteca” campaign is part of The Campaign for America’s Libraries, ( www.ala.org/@yourlibrary), ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible in part by ALA’s Library Champions, ALA’s highest level of corporate members.