Librarian makes trip to Mexico for book-buy
Buying books for a library is not a daunting task unless the books are an assortment of Latin-American books that is something else again. Summit County youth services librarian, Linda Schmida, went to a book fair in Central Mexico to find importers of selected books written in Spanish.
The Celon De Libro, is a huge book fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, which unites book vendors, publishers and authors with American and Mexican librarians. "The majority are from South America and Spain," said Schmida. They are there showing their wares."
Schmida spent three days at the book fair, right after Thanksgiving. The Summit County, Kimball Junction Branch library allotted $3,000 for the purchase of the books.
This all comes about with the help of the American Library Association, which gives grants to libraries to travel to the foreign book fairs to find distributors to import books.
Schmida, who said she speaks a little Spanish, relies mainly on books chosen by Mexican and American librarians at the Celon de Libro.
The distributors and importers of books can be counted on at the Celon de Libro, to deliver a menagerie of requested books to the United States.
Schmida said the library also asks patrons for input on the books they would like to read in Spanish.
Ironically, Schmida said more American parents check out children’s books written in Spanish, so their kids can learn Spanish, and parents of Spanish-speaking kids tend to check out children’s books written in English, so their kids can practice English.
In Guadalajara, Schmida ordered "a core collection of books" for young children, and adults. The majority of adult books are non-fiction, as, she said, a lot of the Spanish-speaking patrons have things they want, or need to learn, and with their busy lives consider fiction a luxury. Magazines in Spanish, videos and CD’s in Spanish are also available.
The book fair was open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for librarians then it opened to the public. "It was wall-to-wall people when it opened to the general public," said Schmida. She said she found the people in Guadalajara to be voracious readers.
Although many Spanish speakers take advantage of the Kimball Junction’s array of books, there could be more.
"I think it’s a shame we don’t have more Spanish speakers taking advantage of our library," Schmida said, but she hopes as the library, which has been housed in the current building since Nov, 2001, will become better known over time. She believes word of mouth will bring more Spanish speakers to the Kimball Junction branch.
The library did have two bi-lingual librarians, who are no longer working there. "It’s amazing how much more comfortable people feel when they know someone on the staff speaks Spanish, Schmida said.
"We have a little something for everyone. The more people let us know what they want, the better."
The Kimball Junction Library is located at 6505 N. Landmark Dr. in Kimball Junction. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.- 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Call 615-3900 for more information
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