What is your position and the library where you work? What are some of your position’s responsibilities?
My position is Bilingual Library Specialist. I have been in this position for seven years; during this time, my responsibilities have been changing a little at a time. I have had different focuses and increased responsibilities to address the main goal of bringing library resources to the community and connecting it with information. For the last two years at the Canby Public Library, we have focused on the construction and the interior design of the new library building. During the last year, the Canby library, like all the libraries in the Clackamas County, has being implementing the radio-frequency identification (RFID) system. As one of my responsibilities, I have collaborated in those two major projects in addition to managing the Spanish collection, cataloging, programming (in Spanish or bilingual), bilingual outreach, and also working at the information and circulation front desks.
(photo on the left) Angelica with Dr. Carla Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress
Tell us a little bit about the community where you work.
The Canby Public Library is a small rural library. The library serves 16,951 people within the city limits, of which 19.7% speak Spanish. (United States Census Bureau, 2011-2015, American Community Survey). In the Canby School District, there is a bilingual immersion school and the rest of the schools in the district work hard supporting ESL learners and the Spanish community. The majority of Hispanics or Latinos in Canby work in natural resources (farming), construction, maintenance occupations, and service occupations.
Can you tell us about some programs or services that you’re excited about at your library?
The Spanish or Bilingual programs at the Canby library follow a yearly program set to provide storytimes and early literacy programs, movies nights, and monthly programs directed towards families. In addition to major cultural celebrations that are relevant to the Spanish-speaking community, we have a program that offers a space for the grandparents of the community to socialize. In 2015, we started a citizenship class in which 20 people have obtained their citizenship.
Tell us about the favorite part of your position and why.
I find it hard to select one part or task of my position as a favorite. I really like all of them. I truly enjoy my work and I think that each part is essential in the services for the community.
Are there challenges that you face in your work?
Yes, of course, I encounter challenges in my work. The biggest one is under-staffing, which affects the amount of time we have to keep up with all the services. But when I see a familiar face or a new one that appreciates what we do at the library, I forget any challenge. Actually, that motivates me to continue. I know that there are others in the community that are facing bigger challenges than mine.
Can you share some advice or tips you have for working with and/or providing services and materials for the Spanish-speaking / Latino community?
I will not call it advice but just “what I do.” When facing challenges while working with the Spanish community, I don’t give up, I work harder. I evaluate the situation with sincerity, I network, and I talk to others about how I am feeling.
Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about?
I do have two other things that I want to say. First, talk to the members of the community, wherever you find them. The last one, attend the meetings at professional organizations like REFORMA Oregon. You will learn, make friends, and work while having fun!
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