Libraries to showcase bilingual resources during El día de los niños/El día de los libros

Contact: Macey Morales
ALA Media Relations
312-280-4393
mmorales@ala.org

 

NEWS
For Immediate Release
April 7, 2009

U.S. libraries reponding to country’s changing populations

(CHICAGO) As the nation’s population continues to become more diverse, hundreds of libraries will showcase their multicultural programs and services this April 30th during national El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day). This year marks the 13th anniversary of the observance also known as Día, and libraries across the country will host Día celebrations with family programs, including bilingual story hours, book giveaways, and other literacy events.

According to the 2000 Census, nearly 1 in 5 U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home. Of the 47 million residents who speak another language at home, 28% speak Spanish. Spanish is, by far, the most supported non-English language in public libraries. Seventy-eight percent of libraries reported Spanish as the priority #1 language to which they develop services and programs.

Libraries are changing and dynamic places that provide endless educational opportunities. Historically libraries have served as our nation’s great equalizers of knowledge. In today’s increasingly diverse and complex information environment, their multilingual resources are needed more than ever. Many offer multilingual library collections, and programs for Hispanic and other multicultural youth and adults continues to increase every year.

Through literacy events and programs like Día, libraries are working with parents and caregivers to raise avid readers. Current research on early literacy and brain development indicates that it is never too early to prepare children for success as readers; and that avid readers are lead by the reading habits of their parents.

“In a world where knowledge is power, libraries make everyone more powerful,” said Pat Scales, president, Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the organization that serves as the national home for Día. “Numerous studies reveal that access to books and other reading materials, and the amount of time children spend reading for pleasure are linked with gains in reading achievement. Libraries provide free access to books and information that celebrate all linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and we want parents to know that taking their children to the library is one of the most important things they can do for their child.”

Celebrations can be found from coast to coast. More than 25 branches of the Riverside County (Calif.) Library System will offer a variety of bilingual programming for children and adults, including author appearances, story times, crafts, games, and music. At the Dekalb County Public Library in Decatur, Georgia, a day-long celebration is planned for families with children ages 1 through 12. They will feature English/Spanish story times and singing with a bilingual storyteller, as well as crafts with an international flavor.

Día brings communities together. For example in El Paso, Texas, the library sponsors an annual citywide event that takes place in a local park. Thousands participate in dozens of family-friendly activities, enjoy live entertainment, free books and goodie bags. Hundreds of local children also march in a special Día parade.  

Sponsored by the ALSC, a division of the ALA, Día celebrates the importance of advocating literacy for every child, regardless of linguistic and cultural background. It is a celebration of children, families, and reading and is held annually on April 30. Día promotes library collections and programs that reflect the country’s changing populations. For multicultural book lists, Día brochures and tips on how to encourage children to read please visit the Día Web site at www.ala.org/dia. Â

ALSC is the national home for Día and works with Día Founder, Pat Mora, national organizations, such as Día Founding Partner REFORMA, to initiate communication and education efforts that promote Día to families across the United States. REFORMA is the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking.Â

About The Association for Library Service to Children
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) develops and supports the profession of children's librarianship by enabling and encouraging its practitioners to provide the best library service to our nation's children. ALSC provides leadership to the profession and public on behalf of high quality library services that support children in becoming lifelong learners.Â

About The American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 67,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.

About REFORMA

Established in 1971 as an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), REFORMA has actively sought to promote the development of library collections to include Spanish-language and Latino oriented materials; the recruitment of more bilingual and bicultural library professionals and support staff; the development of library services and programs that meet the needs of the Latino community; the establishment of a national information and support network among individuals who share our goals; the education of the U.S. Latino population in regards to the availability and types of library services; and lobbying efforts to preserve existing library resource centers serving the interests of Latinos.

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Editors Note:Â
Reporters interested in scheduling interviews with bilingual spokespersons, or would like artwork may contact Macey Morales, ALA Media Relations, 312-280-4393, or mmorales@ala.org. Â