I am a Library Specialist III at the Estacada Public Library. The position of Library Specialist III was a new position within Libraries in Clackamas County (LINCC) and has been evolving ever since I started back in March 2017. My primary job responsibilities are providing general and specialized reference and information to patrons in person and over the telephone. I also provide research assistance to patrons, helping them gain access to both print and computer generated information. This year our library and LINCC have transitioned to RFID and library staff has been training patrons to use the new self-checkouts. I have assisted in creating new innovative ways to serve our community through programming, outreach, promotion, and publicity.
This year between September 15th through October 15th the library hosted its First Annual Hispanic Heritage Month which included a cooking demonstration (Handmade Tortillas), family game night (Loteria), and a Day of the Dead Celebration. Throughout the school year, I assist in the local school’s Multicultural Nights and Family Nights, bringing the library to the schools with free book giveaways, library event calendars, and library card registration applications. Every Wednesdays I help out with our preschool age group a week with our “A to Z” Storytime with Miss Laurie. I also have been building our library’s promotion and publicity through social media and graphic design sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Canva (#estacadapubliclibrary). Canva is my go-to for creating all the library displays, event flyers, social media posts, and more!
Tell us a little bit about the community where you work.
In the heart of Clackamas County, Oregon sits the small community of Estacada. It has a growing population of around 3,313 people but that number will soon change with the construction of over 250 homes within the next 2-3 years (United States Census Bureau, 2016 Population Estimates). As of 2016 the Hispanic or Latino population is around 203 people which accounts for 7.5% of the population.
Estacada was nationally known as the “Christmas Tree Capital of the World,” Estacada had a large number of tree farms which ship around the world during the holiday season. It is also considered the gateway to the Clackamas River Recreation Area and is a region famous for its fishing, hiking, picnicking, camping, boating and snow sports.
Can you tell us about some programs or services that you’re excited about at your library
I am excited about Spring 2018 because I am preparing to start an Intercambio/Language Exchange for adults and hosting our First Annual Día de los Niños/ Día de los Libros for children and families. I have attended various Intercambios to get more hands-on experience and better understand how to manage these sessions. I would like to focus the Intercambio/Language Exchange on learning communication skills and life skills in both English and Spanish languages. I am also planning to partner with Todos Juntos, a community-based organization to organize Día and help spread the word throughout the community.
Tell us about the favorite part of your position and why.
My favorite part of my position has been getting to know the community of Estacada. In the short months, I have worked at this library I have gotten to know library patrons through answering questions at the reference desk, hosting library programs, and participating in school events.
Are there challenges that you face in your work? If you would like to, please elaborate.
The challenges I face have been figuring out how to get the Spanish Speaking and Latino communities into our library doors. Some of the barriers I have found for patrons are library fines, distance and transportation, school and work schedules, language and a lack of awareness of library services and programs.
Another challenge has been figuring out what type of library materials patrons would like to see on our shelves in the Spanish section.
Can you share some advice or tips you have for working with and/or providing services and materials for the Spanish-speaking/Latino community?
In the last year working at this library, I have learned to ask for help and have gained a network of colleagues within the library, LINCC, and the Reforma Oregon Chapter.
I have recently joined the Multicultural Committee within LINCC and it has helped me reach out to the librarians and library staff from neighboring libraries. I am meeting with neighboring libraries to share ideas about multicultural programs and get advice on how to better serve the Spanish speaking and Latino communities.
Becoming an Oregon Reformista has also helped me connect with librarians and library staff from libraries all across Oregon.
Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about?
It’s been a year of firsts for me both in my personal and work life. A year ago I moved to Oregon not knowing I would end up in a library job where I get to work with a great staff and community. I feel like I still have a lot to learn and with the help of my colleagues, I am excited to see what lies ahead in my library career.