Alabaster library receives grant to expand Spanish and bilingual book collections

Published 3:57 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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By EMILY REED | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – The Albert L. Scott Library has recently expanded its Spanish and bilingual book collections through a grant from the state library.

“We had a small, dated collection before writing the grant,” said Library Director Kimberly Roberts. “The books were mixed in with our regular collection; so, they were hard to find. We have since pulled them out to form their own collection, and we have worked with our county library-Harrison Regional Library to ensure that all of our items are easily discoverable through our catalog.”

The Alabaster City Council provided a $3,750 match for the $15,000 grant bringing the total of the total amount of the grant to $18,750.

Now, patrons can have access to Spanish and bilingual book titles ranging from board and picture books, all the way to adult books.

New books of Latino interest and Hispanic authors have also been added in English to the general collection.

Titles are available for free at the library and digitally through both Libby and Hoopla apps.

Roberts said the grant funds have really helped serve to jump-start the collection at the library.

About $3,500 was used on the physical collection—building on what the library already had and giving it a “fresh new start.” The bulk of the grant funds, roughly $9,000, was used toward the library’s digital collection on Camellia Net accessible through the library’s Libby app.

“The grant is intended to be a jump-start and refresh our Spanish collection, but going forward we will use a portion of our regular budget to continually maintain and curate this collection,” Roberts said. “We have concentrated on building our picture books and beginning readers because those were one of the heavily requested items, which prompted the grant being written.”

Roberts said a big advantage with the grant is that a marketing section was built in where the library staff is trying to raise awareness to the collection.

“We have translated all of our basic library information into Spanish including our card applications to make the library more open and friendly toward Spanish speakers,” Roberts said. “Our staff will also undergo a basic Spanish course as well.”

The library also plans to offer bilingual storytimes in the summer and ESL classes in the fall.

For those interested in getting a library card, card applications are also available in Spanish. The process is free and the whole family can get a library card. All that is needed for a library card is a picture ID and proof of being a Shelby County resident.

The library is located at 100 Ninth Street NW, off of First Avenue West/County Road 44 on the corner across from Alabaster Fire Station No. 1.