Nation’s libraries, families to celebrate diversity and cultures

Contact: Macey Morales

ALA Media Relations



or Immediate Release

April 5, 2010

Libraries to showcase bilingual resources during El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day)

(CHICAGO) As the nation’s population continues to become more diverse, hundreds of libraries will showcase multicultural programs and services during national El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day). This year marks the 14th anniversary of the observance also known as Día, a celebration every day of children, families and reading that culminates every year on April 30. Libraries across the country will host Día celebrations with family programs, including bilingual story hours, book giveaways, and other literacy driven events.

Libraries are part of the American Dream and serve as our nation’s great equalizers of knowledge. In today’s increasingly diverse and complex information environment, library multilingual resources are needed more than ever. The most current Census reports that more than18 percent of the U.S. population speaks a language other than English in the home. As the nation becomes more diverse, libraries are adding additional multilingual collections and services and bilingual personnel.

Through family literacy events and programs like Día, libraries are working with parents and caregivers to spread “Bookjoy.” 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.

“Without reading, everything in life is harder,” said Thom Barthelmess, president, Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the organization that serves as the national home for Día. “Low literacy is linked to poverty, crime, dependence on government assistance and poor health. By motivating children to read, parents create lifelong readers, and that makes for better citizens and a healthier democracy.”

Many libraries turn to the first-ever DÍAPALOOZA (, a month-long, virtual celebration of Día. Every day during April, Día founder Pat Mora will blog about upcoming Día celebrations and will provide informational resources that support Día’s main goal of daily linking all children to books, languages and cultures.

Día brings communities together. Last year, the Topeka & Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library partnered with 18 community agencies, and targeted 35 pre-schools and 20 elementary schools and worked with community partners to promote the library’s Día celebration. Hundreds attended the celebration which included a bilingual puppet show, bilingual reader's theater, traditional dancers from Bolivia, a high school mariachi band, and bilingual storytelling and book displays. Participants also had the opportunity to receive a free book and to participate in book-making activities, arts and crafts, lotería, and other activities.

Sponsored by the ALSC, a division of the ALA, Día advocates literacy for every child, regardless of linguistic and cultural background every day. It culminates in a celebration of children, families, and reading 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

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.

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.

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.


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.


Editors Note:

Reporters interested in scheduling interviews with bilingual spokespersons, or would like artwork may contact Macey Morales, ALA Media Relations, 312-280-4393, or