Hailey Public Library gets $3,000 to expand Hispanic offerings

Edith Lopez-Millard (left), a bilingual teacher at Alturas Elementary School and library advisor, stands with Hailey Public Library Project Director and Program Manager Kristin Fletcher beside new library materials designed for “transforming communities.”

The Hailey Public Library will provide enhanced programs and collection offerings aimed at supporting the Hispanic community as the library concludes a yearlong, grant-funded initiative to reach more of the city’s traditionally underserved residents.

“Hailey’s richly diverse population is over 30% Hispanic but we realized only a fraction uses the library’s services,” said Hailey Public Library Project Director and Program Manager Kristin Fletcher. “Through this initiative, we learned a lot about what barriers exist and to create a more welcoming environment and expand our collections, programs and services.”

The Hailey Public Library was one of 300 libraries nationwide to receive a competitive grant from American Library Association. The Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grant came with $3,000 to support follow-up actions based on what library staff learned during an outreach phase last summer.

Back then, library staff and a group of Hispanic advisors hosted two informal listening conversations at Balmoral Park. Participants brainstormed dozens of suggestions for new and improved programs, collections and services to suit all ages. The advisors then reviewed and prioritized participant’s ideas for implementation over the next four-to-six months.

As a result, the library used funds to purchase almost 200 Spanish/bilingual books—two-thirds of them for children—and rearranged the Children’s Library to prominently feature them.

New library programs will include a free, six-week Conversacion de Ingles class for native Spanish speakers taught by tutor Leonardo Padilla Sacha starting Jan. 21. In February, the library will host a monthly Spanish language movie night featuring well known LatinX actors and directors and offer special movies for kids. A monthly bilingual story time read by Hispanic community leaders will also launch next month. This spring, the library plans to host a monthly Tertulia, a Peruvian word meaning “an informal gathering,” with the purpose of sharing conversation and cultural experiences, often about books, movies or current affairs.

Hailey Public Library Director Lyn Drewien said the new programs fulfill one of the library’s “most cherished values”: to provide equal access to resources for the entire community in a safe and welcoming environment.

“We were honored to be chosen for this amazing opportunity and have learned so much from our Hispanic neighbors over the past year that we are eager to implement,” Drewien said. 

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