My position is Library Associate 2 at the White City Library, one of 15 libraries in our library system, "Jackson County Library Services" (JCLS). At White City, I am the designated bilingual employee and conduct outreach in our community too.
Tell us a little bit about the community where you work.
White City, Oregon is home to some manufacturing, such as, AMY'S KITCHEN and EATON while still being considered a "bedroom" community of Medford, Oregon. In the last 7 years, it has increased in population, from 5,400 to 7,945. During that increase, our Latino population has increased too.
Our schools are all close to 50% Hispanic. We have a dual language program, which begins with a public preschool. The goal is to have the students continue together through high school in their dual language endeavors.
Can you tell us about some programs or services that you’re excited about at your library?
I am excited about The Nest. It is a program, sponsored by the library and a community heath organization. The purpose is to reach parents of 0-5 yr. olds, with "tips of the trade", providing a venue for guest speakers and a time for the participants to learn a new skill or share an old one. I am most excited about the collaborative relationship with the community organizations and bringing young parents to the library.
Tell us about the favorite part of your position and why.
My favorite part of my position is the small-town atmosphere of White City. Even though it is an unincorporated area, there is a large group of people who care about creating a great place to live.
Are there challenges that you face in your work? If you would like to, please elaborate.
There are challenges. One is staffing. There is a lot I see we could do, but we don't have the hours, nor the manpower to accomplish those projects. So, I try to be positive about what opportunities present themselves and also listen to the needs of the community, searching for ways to meet them but accepting if they have to percolate indefinitely.
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 am still learning so much, I do not have any advice or tips specific to providing services and materials for the Spanish-speaking/Latino community per se. However, Spanish is my 2nd language and as a non-native speaker, I would advise people to not be afraid to speak someone's native tongue to them. The appreciation seen in a person's eyes is evident. There is a quote by Nelson Mandela that explains the importance of overcoming that fear. "Si hablas con un hombre en un idioma que él entiende, eso se le va a la cabeza, y si le hablas a él en su idioma, eso se le va al corazón". Nelson Mandela "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart."
Is there anything else that you would like to tell us about?
I am writing this post as the recipient of the 2017 OLA Scholarship provided to me by REFORMA. I was hired in October 2016 and attending the OLA conference was the best thing that happened to me. 1. I came back with great ideas for reaching out to the Latino community 2. I came back motivated with confidence in my ability to implement the ideas 3. I met like-minded people in the REFORMA sponsored sessions. 4. Getting involved in REFORMA is the best step I took for helping the JCLS to reach out to the Latino community, not only in White City but county wide.