Calera library adds Spanish materials

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 19, 2005

It’s not hard for Janet Greathouse to remember how many Spanish items were in the Calera Public Library a couple of years ago. Zero.

&uot;There were no materials for (Hispanics) to read,&uot; the library director admits.

Fortunately, that has changed. There are now several shelves of videos, compact discs, magazines – and books – in Spanish at the library.

Last year, the library received a $5,000 county commission grant to add Spanish materials for patrons. The county commission pledged an additional $5,000.

&uot;At the time we applied for the grant, we had a very active ESL class with about 20 members,&uot; Greathouse said. &uot;They were the ones who helped me pick out the materials.&uot;

Then tutor Jennifer Greer, who is now a teacher in the county school system, also helped.

&uot;With her help and the classmates, that was how I was able to pick out the materials we needed,&uot; Greathouse said.

The materials are among the most popular in the library. In fact, they are up front, near the check-out desk.

Children’s materials are to the left, next to a couple of beanbag chairs where children and their parents can sit and learn. Some of the books have English and Spanish text together, so both parent and child can learn two languages at the same time.

Greathouse said Hispanic parents are busy patrons.

&uot;We have between 25 to 30 patrons who come in regularly. They come in weekly,&uot; she said. &uot;We usually have three or four right after school.&uot;

Some of the kids may visit after school so they can work on assignments. Adults can check out the latest copy of People or Glamour-in Spanish.

&uot;They’re just as interested as we are,&uot; Greathouse said. &uot;Before they could look at pictures, but not figure out what the materials were about.&uot;

Greathouse said some English speaking readers have also found the Spanish section helpful. They’ve checked out materials to help them learn another language.

&uot;It’s been a two-fold blessing,&uot; she said.

Spanish-speaking patrons can fill out an application form in their native language, helping them feel more comfortable about the process