Serving the Latinx Community


By: Aldo Vasquez, Children’s Library Associate, Chicago Public Library20180927_145317

Earlier this year, I was awarded a travel grant to attend the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color by the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS). As a Latinx Children’s Library Associate working in the diverse city of Chicago, I knew how important it would be for me to attend the conference and connect with individuals around the country who share similar experiences and deal with the same challenges I encounter on a daily basis.

Currently working in a predominately Latinx and Spanish-speaking neighborhood, I have made it my mission to provide meaningful and inclusive resources and programming to suit the needs of the community. As a member of the Chicago Public Library’s Latinx Services Committee, I strive to better support and address issues facing our Latinx population. Working with library branches all across the city, I encourage the development and implementation of more Spanish language signage, programming related to Latinx culture, immigration resources, and additional Spanish language books in the collection. By starting this dialogue, we are able to show a positive and meaningful perspective of cultural competence and create a better understanding of its worth.

This dialogue was also echoed in the many sessions I attended during JCLC 2018. Sessions such as “Multicultural Children’s Literature for the Future” and “Building a Multicultural Early Literacy Kit on a Budget” explained the importance of providing our youth with positive images of people that represent a worldwide point of view. During the session, “iCount @ the Library: Building a Culture of Equity”, I learned how LA County Public Library is addressing equity issues in their communities by creating initiatives that encourage all staff members to be aware of key social issues that affect their customers.20180927_160630

More importantly, I was able to meet a number of genuine, informative, and dedicated individuals who are continuously providing relevant and essential programs and services for their community. Attending JCLC 2018 in Albuquerque, New Mexico has been one of the more enriching and empowering experiences in my young career as a librarian and I leave the conference hopeful that libraries will continue to develop beneficial programming and resources to their diverse population and communities.