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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

A visit to the Guadalajara book fair helps expand library's Spanish collection

A visit to the Guadalajara book fair helps expand library's Spanish collection

“¿Tienes libros en español en la biblioteca?” The Irving Street Library soon will be able to answer that question (Do you have Spanish library books?) by saying that they have many new additions thanks to a trip to the Feria Internacional Del Libro (FIL), one of the largest books fairs in the world.

The FIL is held in Guadalajara, Mexico, every year around the end of November. The book fair lasts nine days and is attended by 2,200 publishers promoting their books to over 800,000 people.

Collection Development Librarian Jessi Barrientos attended the 2018 FIL to acquire more Spanish language books for the Irving Street library. The library currently has Spanish language books, but wants to improve this part of its collection.

“We conducted a profile of the community and 44 percent of people within three miles of Irving Street are Hispanic,” said Barrientos. “We want our collection to reflect that cultural diversity and increase the amount of literature that’s written initially in Spanish.”

It was the first time a representative of Westminster libraries had attended the massive book fair. Barrientos’ received a grant from the American Library Association to offset expenses related to attending.

Barrientos’ goals during the FIL were to purchase early literacy/picture books, children’s chapter books, adult fiction and non-fiction books on nature and wellness. Armed with a budget of approximately $24,000, Barrientos looked at 10,000 titles and talked with over 50 publishers.

“I worked closely with our book distribution vendors to help with international distribution rights and book ordering,” said Barrientos. “Most Spanish language publishers don’t distribute to the United States, so this was a great opportunity to work directly with them at the fair and order these materials.”

Barrientos ordered approximately 1,500 books, about half adult books and half kids books. The materials are expected to arrive and be put on the shelves this summer.

“I ordered books on monsters, ghosts, and the paranormal and biographies of politicians and personalities from Mexico, which are some of the most requested topics here,” said Barrientos. “We also got multiple copies of story time-friendly books so kids can listen to the book and then parents can check it out.”

The library hopes to attend FIL every two to three years to keep the library’s collection current and engaging for Spanish speakers.

“Buying these books is also in line with the city’s Parks, Recreation and Libraries department’s mission of promoting nature, wellness and literacy in Westminster,” said Barrientos. “And it’s great to have a new and pretty Spanish language collection for our patrons.”

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