Sonoma County libraries expand Spanish-language book collection

Mayra Lopez
Written by Mayra Lopez

Sonoma County’s Spanish-language book collection is growing larger thanks to a new Español e-reading room program launched at regional libraries, and addition of books collected at the Feria Internacional del Libro in Guadalajara, Mexico. The libraries will now offer more children, young adult, fiction and non-fiction books in Spanish, many of which are written by Latino American writers.

Through the OverDrive app — implemented in 2007 — local residents are able to borrow or download e-books and audio books in Spanish onto a compatible digital device. The books will automatically expire once the lending period is over and there are no late fees. Some current popular books available in the Spanish e-book reading room include “Mi Historia” by Michelle Obama and “La Casa en Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros.

If digital is not your style, you can always head down to your local branch to check out their Spanish book selections. This past November, three Sonoma County librarians traveled to the FIL in Guadalajara to purchase Spanish-language books for local libraries. The book fair is one of the largest in the world, with around 1,500 publishing houses present, many who travel from Spain, Colombia, Guatemala, Chile, Uruguay, among other countries.

“We are getting books from various Latin American countries, not just Mexico,” elaborated Jacquelyn Martinez, adult services librarian at the Petaluma Library. “We really want the community to be seen and feel represented in our book collections.”

Participating in the FIL allowed librarians the opportunity to buy newly published titles, but also purchase hard-to-find replacements and older unique titles not distributed in the U.S. They were also able to learn more about how to create and maintain Spanish book collections in libraries.

According to Christina Hanson, a system selector librarian who attended the book fair, 1,800 books were purchased for the Sonoma County library system and over 900 of them were unique titles. The librarians spent just under $30,000 during their trip, which was spent equally on children’s books and adult literature.

The Sonoma County Library systems offer a variety of resources in Spanish for local residents. Aside from book rentals, they offer access to streaming videos, television and movies, tutoring and resume resources through the Princeton Review, digital magazines and even practice driving tests through the DMV.

For more information on the Spanish e- reading room and books available at the library, visit the Sonoma County Library website.

[Versión en español]

Reach La Prensa Sonoma’s Editor Ricardo Ibarra at 707-526-8501 or email ricardo.ibarra@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ricardibarra.

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