Monday, May 10, 2010

Librarians and the New Arizona Laws

The new anti-immigration laws have made headlines all over the news. This controversial attempt to solve the immigration problem has put many Hispanic and other organization on edge. Boycotts and protests have been organized declaring the law discriminatory and unconstitutional.
In view of this recent events, what is the role of the librarian?
As we have seen in recent months, when the economy is in crisis, libraries and the services they provide increase in use and importance. Libraries provide access to job postings for those without Internet access. We help find information on how to write resumes and cover letters, as well as books and activities for children and families who don't have resources at home. It is clear that the library is an essential source for those economically disadvantaged during tough times.
Having said that, these new anti-immigration laws (Oklahoma wants to pass a similar law, unsurprisingly) make our job of trying to reach the Immigrant population in general and the Hispanic population in particular difficult. We must understand that the library is viewed as a government agency. If these populations feel persecuted by the police and other government agencies, it is only logical for them to think that the library would question their legal status as well.
This could not be further from the truth. We don't care about any of our patron's legal status. We only consider their status as a taxpayer to receive a library card. Even though most public libraries are government agencies, we will not call the authorities on anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. It is not within the scope of our profession. We are bound by a code of ethics to serve any and all patrons regardless of gender, race, religious views of, for that matter, citizenship status.
For the librarians: keep in mind that Hispanics and Latinos are currently experiencing feelings of persecution, and don't be surprised if they stop showing up to the library or avoid staff help. The only thing we can do is to reassure them that we as professionals guard their privacy and would not disclose any personal information to authorities.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

ALA Resources for Hispanic Students

Information Literacy in the Disciplines: Hispanic/Latino Studies
This link will connect you to the American Library Association list of information literacy programs and standards created for several Hispanic/Chicano/Latino studies programs in higher-learning institutions.
Racial and Ethnic Diversity among Librarians: a Status Report
This is a list produced by the ALA that shows the ethnic makeup of librarians in academic, public and school libraries. Although efforts have been in place to recruit more minority librarians, the picture is still less than encouraging.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Academic Libraries Resources for Hispanic Students

The Hispanic and Latino student community is a continuously growing presence in the higher-learning community. Unfortunately, due to cultural reasons and to insufficient familiarity with academic libraries and their role in the educational process, many Hispanic and Latino students do not take full advantage or use inadequately the resources that academic libraries offer to aid in their college career.
This blog has been created to list the different resources on hand for Hispanic and Latino students. Here you will find resources for both academic library administrators looking to reach to the Hispanic student community and for Hispanic students interested in using the resources offered by academic libraries to their full potential. Here are listed links to books, scholarly journals, Web sites, blogs and videos related to academic libraries and the Hispanic and Latino student community.

Developing Library and Information Services for Americans of Hispanic Origin by Robert P Haro (Scarecrow Press, 1981).
This book provides information on library and information services for students of Hispanic origin. It covers the nationalities most widely represented in the United States, such as Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, and Puertoricans, and provides information about their specific information needs. This book, aimed at library administrators, covers topics such as outreach, library operations, cataloging, staff evaluation and internal library operations in the context of service for the Hispanic student population.
Library Services for Youth of Hispanic Heritage by Barbara Froling Immroth (McFarland and Company, 2000).
This volume was written mainly for Public and school libraries. It is a collection of essays written by librarians addressing the question of how to better serve the Hispanic population.The essays are organized in several parts; Programs, Collections, Planning and Evaluating, Bibliographical Resources, and For the Future.

Scholarly Journals
Facilitating Cultural Diversity in College and University Libraries by Lois Buttlar (2002).
In this article, Buttlar surveyed 200 academic library directors in areas that serve large minority populations. Out of those surveyed, 92 percent have allocated funds to promote and facilitate cultural diversity. It also finds that most of those surveyed directed the funds toward collection development, although recruiting Minority staff and resources for foreign students also figure as a priority.
Cultural diversity and undergraduates' academic library use by Ethelene Whitmire (2003).
This article examines the differences in academic library usage among different ethnic groups. It reveals that users belonging to minority groups report more frequent library use. It also finds that students who engage in writing activities and read more non-assigned books also report more frequent library use, regardless of ethnic background.
Increasing Minority Librarians in Academic Research Libraries by Joseph A. Boisse and Connie V. Dowell (1987).
Even though this article is slightly outdated, it describes an academic library's internship program designed to recruit more minority librarians and increase the employability of recent minority graduates.
The Role of the Academic Library in Promoting Student Engagement in Learning by George D. Kuh and Robert M. Gonyea (2003).
This article is the result of an extensive survey in which over 300,000 students respond, This survey was done continuously between 1984 and 2002 using what is called the College Students Experience Questionnaire. Although the students do not make references to the library as a direct contributor to college success, They acknowledge their experiences in the library in educationally valuable activities. It also suggests that colleges and universities should emphasize information literacy, since this emphasis is a strong predictor of student's level of information literacy.
What are Academic Libraries doing with Spanish Language Subject Headings? by Laurence E. Creider (2003).
This article is the product of a Web survey done by the author. In it, the author finds that most libraries do not assign Spanish language subject headings locally, but they retain them and display them in the catalog when provided through copy of cataloging records. The author also recommends that such records be retained when provided.

Web Sites
Subject Research Guides: Latino Studies (Rutgers University Libraries)
This excellent website lists an extensive bibliography of library resources with Hispanic American related topics as a main subject. It covers most subjects in which Hispanic culture is a central subject. This bibliography is the collection of the Alexander Library, which houses the main Latino Studies collection for Rutgers University.
Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC)
This list of academic resources for Hispanic students is put together by the University of Texas. This website is divided into several categories/subjects and give a list of electronic resources, complete with links, relevant to Hispanic students and those interested in Hispanic/Latino Studies. The links connect students with the Web pages of Hispanic organizations, among other resources.
National Hispanic University Library
As the name implies, this is a virtual library for materials and other resources related to Hispanic and Latino subjects. It not only has an online catalog, but it also has other tools useful for Hispanic students, like citation guides, and search tools specific to individual subject.
Latino and Chicano History - Academic Info
A Comprehensive list of Latino/Chicano history events and highlights, as well as links to particular resources related to the events.
Library Research on Chicano/Latino Studies
Another list of Chicano/Latino information resources, in this case coming from Stanford University.
Selected Hispanic and Latino Web Sites: New York State Library
This Website gives a list of Hispanic and Latino Web sites, divided by broad subjects.

Towards the bottom of this page, you will find YouTube videos related to Academic Libraries and Hispanic/Latino students.