I am an Adult Services Reference Librarian at Eugene Public Library. My areas of responsibility include collection development (including Spanish collection), reference service (including Spanish communications), with additional programming and administration responsibilities.
Tell us a little bit about the community where you work.
Eugene is known as Tracktown for being the birthplace of Nike and hosting the US Olympic Track and Field Trials. Eugene also markets itself as the Silicon Shire for the growing presence of technology companies and businesses that incorporate technological innovations. Along with a reputation as a tech center and runner’s paradise, Eugene is also known as one of the most hippy friendly cities in the US. Over 150,000 people live within the City of Eugene. Along with our sister city of Springfield and surrounding community our population is about 250,000. About 10 percent of the population of Eugene is Hispanic. Hispanics have the largest minority representation in Eugene and are visible at Eugene’s ubiquitous running challenges, multi-disciplined professions and in unconventional apparel.
Can you tell us about some programs or services that you’re excited about at your library?
Our library is very fortunate to have consistently dynamic career and business development programs right alongside informative lectures and engaging artistic performances. Our investment in our Makerspace is our next exciting venture. The purpose of our Maker Hub is to allow our patrons greater access to technological and creative material. It is very interesting to be involved with the iterations that are taking place during this foundational period of our Maker Hub. Talk Time is our newest program meant for English Language Learners also experiencing worthwhile initial foundational iterations. These English Conversation Groups are designed to enhance our participants' English proficiency in a collaborative environment with other English Language Learners and staff/volunteers.
Tell us about the favorite part of your position and why.
I very much enjoy witnessing immediate results from exchanges that take place at the reference desk and programs. The reward of public service is that our work has a positive impact on the community. It cannot be understated how rewarding it is when that results of that work are front and center throughout your day at the public library.
Can you share some advice or tips you have for working with and/or providing services and materials for the Spanish-speaking / Latino community?
It is very fortuitous to be able to speak Spanish when dealing with people that primarily speak Spanish. However, I definitely do not feel that attempts to communicate should be regressive if there exists a language barrier. If Spanglish is the best that can be achieved for a causal interaction, I highly recommend. In more intense situations, I have oversight of work calendar for Spanish speakers with corresponding level of fluency that staff can utilize. Not unique to Spanish speaking community but honest efforts to understand despite a language barrier go a long way. I use that same respect for the power of the simple meet and greet in my efforts at outreach. I try to seize any opportunity that will place me in a position whereby I could interact with potential partners. In addition to Reforma, I am on a newly created Latino Community Action Team created by Catholic Community Services, City of Eugene Human Rights Board, and the Lane Community College ESL Board. Connections through the Catholic Church have also been fostered. You never know what spark might be ignited from these encounters as it relates to collection development or programming. Never give up on trying to connect.