Tag Archive: Public Library


“We had a room with some books but nobody ever went in there.” This is a quote from Alan Cohen, P.S. 69’s principal. Imagine being a student in NYC and not having access to a proper library? Many students in low income communities face this issue daily. Rooms that are dedicated to being libraries, are often  found bare and deserted due to low or no funding and lack of materials- mainly books. With the economy tumbling and still uncertain, many budgets for NYC public schools have put Libraries at the bottom of the list. It seems there just isn’t enough money to support a program that is so essential to students.

There may be hope! A foundation known as the Robin Hood Foundation is looking to change the direction and image of many poverty stricken NYC public schools. The foundation over the past nine years has been:

 “dedicated to fighting poverty in New York City, and the city’s schools administration have built, with the help of private donors, libraries in 62 schools in low-income neighborhoods.”

The Foundation has had such success that many of the libraries that have been built in these schools have been adorned by murals from famous artists. These libraries and pictures have transformed schools that once seemed headed in a one way direction with the students having no choice but to follow the same dooming direction.

Another example of this transformation is Public School 47, located in the Soundview section of the Bronx. The school is in need of space. So much so that the gym has been transformed into classrooms and administrative offices have been created from bathrooms. Yet with the help of the Robin Hood Foundation, the school now seems to have a promising future- thanks to the addition of the new library located on the second floor. The room is described as expanding in a somewhat magical way. Above all, the new library (home to roughly 7,000 books) is the first “proper” library that the school has had in many years. All thanks to the Robin Hood Foundation.

Please visit their site to learn more information about how their program works and how their efforts have helped to keep literature within the NYC public school system. Foundations such as this one and books such as A Very Smart Cat/ Una Gata Muy Inteligente, My Brain Won’t Float Away/ Mi Cerebro no Va a Salir Flotando, and A Caribbean Journey from A to Y (Read and Discover What Happened to the Z) aim to improve and inspire reading among young students and children.

What is the most popular language in public libraries currently? The answer may surprise you. According to a recent article (posted by School Library Journal, Críticas, on April 4th, 2008), “About 21 million people in the United States speak limited or no English.” This number is up 50% more than it was a decade ago, according to Críticas.

What is the reason for this, and if this is the case, why aren’t there more #1 bestsellers in Spanish? At the least, we should be seeing higher rankings. It would make sense that with this new trend, Editorial Campana and similar organizations should start seeing their books in more and more libraries. This does not seem to be the case for sales though. When you go to stores such as Amazon and Barnes&Nobles, the ratings of Spanish books have not pushed them to top spots in “general book” selling statistics. Maybe this just means that more people want to read books in Spanish, but don’t want to buy them. As well, Spanish language books may be starting to overflow from library shelves due to the following findings from the same article:

“Libraries reported that the most successful programs and services for non-English speakers were English as a Second Language (ESL), language-specific materials and collections, computer use and computer classes, story time, and special programs.”

This new trend may help libraries better serve the people they hope to help. By realizing that more non-English related literature is needed, librarians will start to emphasize the need for literature that the public wants.  This idea was emphasized by that of the A.L.A. ( The American Library Association)-

“These study findings can provide a venue for developing better and more precise materials, services and programs for those linguistically isolated. Librarians can better predict what specific language materials and services may be required to optimally serve non-English speaking group” (Click here to read the full article)

If this new trend holds true, the next step would be finding out how to get individuals to by books in Spanish as well, thus increasing their overall popularity.