April is an important month for our nation’s libraries. Take the time to celebrate the many ways our libraries contribute to our communities. In a previous post, we explored innovative ways for libraries to attract ethnic populations. Here, we take a look at ways libraries can transform a community.
Diverse Communities, Multicultural Library Offerings
Libraries have always been a place to read and learn, and have functioned as important community centers. Librarians assess their communities, its needs, and decide how best to meet those needs. Community outreach is a big part of a library’s purpose. As the US becomes more diverse, it’s imperative that libraries increase their services and programs to meet the needs of non-native-English speakers. These changes establish libraries as true centers of learning for the entire community.
National Library Week
The second full week of April each year is National Library Week. It’s a time to celebrate and promote our nation’s school, public, and academic libraries. This year’s theme is “Libraries transform.” It’s an initiative from the American Library Assocation (ALA) aimed at making more of the public aware of the many services libraries offer, and the value and impact of those services in communities. The main idea behind the initiative is that “[l]ibraries today are less about what they have for people and more about what they do for and with people.”
Dia! Diversity in Action
April 30 of each year is the culmination of Dia! Diversity in Action, a nationwide initiative from the ALA. Also known as El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day), it provides support to libraries wanting to connect their patrons to more bilingual/multicultural services and resources. The initiative is a “daily commitment to linking children and their families to diverse books, languages and cultures.”
Storytime in a Foreign Language & More
The Association for Library Service to Children, the world’s largest organization supporting children’s library services, includes multicultural programs in its list of recommended programs for school-aged children. One is Storytime in a Foreign Language, where members of the community are invited to come in and read books in their native language. Parents are also encouraged to share foreign language books and cultural stories with their children.
PENpal Audio Recorder Pen – A Unique Tool for Libraries
The PENpal “Talking Pen” is great for libraries in search of an easy-to-use, multipurpose tool that will attract and meet the needs of their ethnic patrons. In addition to turning existing bilingual children’s books into audio books in over 40 languages, the Mantra Lingua PENpal can bring fully customized recordings to any learning resource. Just some examples:
- Listen to sound-enable posters, photos or charts
- Create interactive displays
- Create verbal treasure hunts for children to follow
- Provide step-by-step instruction for any Learning Center
- Make an oral version of forms and booklets to facilitate communication with patrons.
The PENpal Recorder Pen is so versatile, it can be used to support reading, writing, speaking and listening for any person in need of an inclusive resource that develops literacy skills.
Do you have an outstanding multicultural library in your neighborhood? Tell us about their innovative programs and services by commenting below!
“Canada Water Library Shelves” by Barney Moss via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/dNwts8