Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 17, 2018

New library section established for Latinos

By David Hotle | Aug 23, 2017
In the hopes of serving the Spanish speaking members of the community, the library has established a Mexican/Latin corner on the second floor of its facility.


While the Washington Public Library has always had books in Spanish, they have previously been scattered throughout the stacks. Now, in the hopes of serving the Spanish speaking members of the community, the library has established a Mexican/Latin corner on the second floor of its facility.

Library director Debbie Stanton said the section is expected to expand soon. After having spoken with Mexincan Mexican consul Maria Guadalupe Sanchez Salazar during Summer Classic this year, Stanton said the library will offer information from the Mexican Consul regarding such things as identification cards, passport information, information on dual citizenship, and medical benefits. Salazar plans to attend a ribbon-cutting event to dedicate the section tentatively at 6 p.m. on Aug. 31. She will also be bringing informational packets for people to take home.

“One of the first things I did when I started working here was go through the entire collection and decide what we could add to regular non-fiction so people can check out,” she said. “I was able to clear out this entire section. I really felt the Spanish collection was buried.”

She said the library works for everyone in Washington and she hopes everyone in Washington will be able to benefit from it.

Stanton said there had previously been a Spanish reference section that was only lightly used. She said the reason is because reference books have to be studied at the library and can’t be removed. The new adult section, located on the second floor, contains works of fiction, non-fiction and reference materials. A children’s section is also located on the first floor of the library that include Spanish and bi-lingual children’s books.

The library also received a grant from Alliant Energy to purchase more materials.

In addition to providing useful information, Stanton also hopes the section raises awareness of the benefits Hispanics can receive.

Salazar represents the Mexican government in the United States. She took the position in 2014 and has spent much of her time since taking the office meeting with people. Prior to the appointment, she served in Jamaica and Hungary. Amigon said Salazar is very active in the community and likes to visit the different counties. This will be the first time Salazar has visited Washington County. In the past, the mobile consul has visited Cedar Rapids, Muscatine and Marshalltown.

The Mexican Consulate, which opened in 2001 to meet the growing needs of the area’s Mexican population, assists its citizens who are in the United States and encourages cultural and business ties. In addition to helping with passports, identification cards and other documents, the consulate can also offer basic health services.

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