Park Grove Library is no stranger to making sure their programs reflect their community. In response to community feedback, they’ve added numerous language programs, including Spanish Book Club, Spanish Play Date, and Adult English Learner Book Club.
At the suggestion of a visitor, Park Grove launched a Spanish book club, “Club de Lectura en Espanol,” in 2018. This book club is conducted in Spanish and focuses on works by Spanish language authors. This same community member leads the book club discussions and helps facilitate the book selections, which are chosen by the book club members.
Jessi Schulte, Park Grove Library Branch Manager, says, “It is really important to us that everyone feels welcome here. Libraries are a reflection of their community, and we want to be responsive to our visitors’ needs and interests."
Community requests like these impact the resource collections throughout the Washington County Library system. For example, if Spanish book club members have a book in mind that their library doesn’t own, staff will investigate whether they can purchase copies. After the club uses them, the books are dispersed to all Washington County Library branches. Language offerings are continually growing, but librarians say this input has enhanced the collection by providing the resources residents really need and want.
In response to community feedback, Park Grove also added Spanish Play Date. Families who attend the play dates are greeted by “Bienvenido – Welcome!” on the white board, Spanish-language children’s books, coloring pages and language learning activities. Whether you’re just learning or you’re a native speaker, this play date is designed to encourage Spanish language development.
"With a Spanish immersion school so close, these kinds of programs really resonate with our non-native Spanish speakers as well," Schulte says.
Language programs at Park Grove Library aren’t just limited to Spanish – all English learners are welcome to join the Adult English Learner Book Club. Librarians, noticing a need to provide additional support for their ESL visitors, partnered with the Great Rivers Adult Education Consortium to launch the club. Participants read a short book out loud, discuss words and themes, do activities together, and learn about services that are available at their library. They can also register for new library cards!
All visitors are welcome, regardless of their level of the English language, and have included native speakers of many different languages such as Spanish, French, Russian, and Arabic.
Andrew, a Park Grove Librarian, says, "Some people have been in the US for a few weeks, others have been here for 20 years. We try to pick books that aren’t too difficult but have stories that are interesting for everyone."
Learn more about these programs and others by visiting our calendar. And if you have an idea for your own program or a new book, be sure to let our librarians know – we want to hear from you!