ALA leadership in key programs at REFORMA

Contact: Steve Zalusky

Manager of Communications, ALA-PIO

(312) 280-1546


For Immediate Release

August 19, 2008

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) will be a major participant in this year’s 3rd national conference of The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA), held Sept. 18-21 in El Paso, Texas.

The ALA will be among more than 40 exhibitors at the conference, which will offer a wide variety of programs on such subjects as service to diverse populations, children’s services, recruitment and mentoring, adult services, immigration and intellectual freedom. A list of exhibitors can be found at

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18, ALA President-Elect Dr. Camila A. Alire will co-present “Adelante! Library Services for Your Latino Communities,” along with Jacqueline Ayala. The two co-authored the second edition of “Serving Latino Communities.”

“We’re going to provide a workshop that’s based on much of the material that we have in the book,” Dr. Alire said, who added that the workshop is designed for people who are beginning to provide library services to Latino communities or who need additional information on the topic.

Also, from 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 19, Dr. Alire will co-present “Born to Lead?” Along with Luis Herrera, director of the San Francisco Public Library, she will conduct a session that delves into some characteristics of Latino leadership and discusses leadership competencies.

ALA Past-President and REFORMA Planning Committee Chair Carol Brey-Casiano will be presenting at the ALA’s Advocacy Institute, entitled “Making our Voices Heard,” which will take place on Thursday, Sept. 18 from 1 to 5 p.m. The workshop will offer advocacy essentials such as message development and coalition building, and offers a valuable opportunity to network and share ideas with library advocates who work on behalf of the information needs of the Latino community. Scheduled guest speakers include Mario Ascencio, Immediate Past-President of REFORMA and Jim Rettig, 2008-2009 ALA President.

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) will be at REFORMA, with YALSA members Osei Baffour and Jennifer Velasquez and YALSA Executive Director Beth Yoke presenting a program, "Reaching Spanish-Speaking Teens through Alternative Media," from 10:45 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 20. Yoke will also be at in the ALA exhibit booth, where she'll distribute YALSA freebies, raffle off a free online course and answer any questions attendees may have about YALSA.

In addition, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) will be holding a program, “Developing Cultural Competence by Using El día de los niños/El día de los libros to Celebrate Literacy Throughout the Year!” The program, which will be held 9:15 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, will show participants how to make Día a success year round though culturally competent librarians. A panel of three presenters will discuss cultural competence and how it is developed within communities.

Hosted in a city that boasts the largest international border community in the world, the 3rd National REFORMA Conference will allow attendees to share their knowledge, know-how and passion for excellence in serving the needs of Latinos and the Spanish-speaking. The theme for this year’s national conference is Bridging the Gaps: Juntos @ the Border.

“The REFORMA conference presents a great opportunity for librarians from all over the country to gather on the U.S.-Mexico border to discuss improving library and information services for Latino and Spanish-speaking patrons,” Brey-Casiano said.

An ALA study on library services and programs for non-English speakers found that Spanish is, by far, the most supported non-English language in public libraries. Seventy-eight percent of libraries reported Spanish as the top-priority language for which they develop services and programs.

The study, funded by the 2006 World Book Goal Award and supported by the ALA Office for Research & Statistics, Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, Office for Diversity and Public Programs Office, also found that smaller communities are serving a larger proportion of non-English speakers.

Established in 1971 as an affiliate of the 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 with regard to the availability and types of library services; and lobbying efforts to preserve existing library resource centers serving the interests of Latinos.

Keynote speakers will include Dr. Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The closing session will feature David Bacon, noted author and photographer, whose new book, “Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants,” is scheduled to be published in September.

For more information on the National Conference and to register, please visit