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June 1, 2016

Library Week: Celebrate Spanish & Bilingual Library Services at the NYPL!

We love books. And we love books that love books. With El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) fast approaching (April 30) it’s a great time to use books to combat the dreaded summer slide, where a lack of engagement in reading over the summer delays children’s achievement at the start of the new school year. Spanish-language and bilingual teachers, parents, and readers, fear not! In honor of National Library Week (April 13–19) we explore the many wonderful Spanish-language and bilingual library services available to children at the New York Public Library!

Libraries and librarians are sublime resources for keeping kids growing as readers over the summer. The Inwood and Washington Heights branches are two of the NYPL’s most prominent resources for Spanish-language and bilingual readers. Both branches offer a multitude of classes and activities. The Inwood branch offers Bilingual Reading Corner/Bilingüe rincón de lectura, presented by Literacy Inc. every Tuesday at 4 p.m. with an hour of stories, literacy games, and crafts in Spanish and English.

Spanish and bilingual activities at the Washington Heights branch include:


-          Bilingual Picture Book Hour

-          Preschool program with rhymes and songs in Spanish

-          Dual-language classes for schools in the community

-          Parent workshops with read-aloud demos in Spanish

-          Computer classes in Spanish

-          Library tours conducted in Spanish


Libraries are a blessing for any community. The librarians at the NYPL branches encourage reading in the library and at home, especially parents reading to their children in their home language. According to Danita Nicholas, librarian at the Inwood Branch, “It is very important that children learn to read well in their native language, if it isn’t English. A literate reader of another language will learn any other language fast. It is also important for emotional and social reasons—that they can share the mother tongue of their parents.…Knowing more than one language can only open more doors later on.” In fact, Vianela Rivas, librarian at the Washington Heights branch, considers the encouragement of “parents to read to the very young in their native language and to have book discussions at the library for older kids” a best practice for librarians aiding in the fight against the summer slide. Accessibility to high-quality Spanish-language and bilingual books for children is also a rising issue in library services. Rivas notes that “there is a growing population of bilingual children coming to this country and they definitely need a place at the public library.” The Washington Heights staff understands the importance of “the fact that we can communicate with our users in their own language.” Librarians and books that share a home language with young readers can only aid kids as they become more invested in learning.

Club Leo en español offers several books and collections as potential summer reading options for Spanish and bilingual readers. Some of our favorites are below:


A Book That Loves Books!

El secreto de la biblioteca/The Library’s Secret


Bilingual Collections!

Paquete Bilingüe/Bilingual Pack

Gran colleción Favoritos de la familia/Family Favorites Library


Amazing Nonfiction!

Paquete Lector de Scholastic Explora tu mundo (Scholastic Discover More Readers Pack)

About the Author: Concetta Gleason is the editorial assistant/admin coordinator for Club Leo. 

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April 18, 2014