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Planning Outreach Activities

How effective are my current services for Spanish speakers? How will I know when I am successfully reaching the community? What activities can I try to enhance my outreach efforts?

Assessing Your Current Level of Responsiveness

Tips for Using the Success Checklist

  • Have staff members at different levels within the library complete the check list. Share the rankings and select one or two areas to work on.
  • Invite community leaders to tour the library. Ask them to complete the check list. Discuss their rankings and action steps for the library.
  • Approach/enter the library as if you were a member of the Hispanic community. Complete the check list and select one or two action areas.

Key Steps to Success

  • Determine community needs & prioritize – community leader interviews, focus groups.
  • Determine target audience – community leaders and demographics.
  • Consider potential partnerships – community leaders, local organizations.
  • Develop action steps.
  • Marketing – word of mouth, ethnic media, developing marketing materials in Spanish and distributing in key locations.
  • Evaluate – it is important to collect stories and examples as well as data!  Careful evaluation is the key for making the case to the community and administration.  Develop instruments such as surveys in Spanish.

Suggested Outreach Activities List

The following list of suggested outreach activities was developed to give you ideas for possible outreach services.  Activities are grouped in four broad categories: Reaching Out, Services, Marketing, and Planning.

It is understood that libraries across the state may be at different stages in developing effective services for their Hispanic/Latino community.  Some libraries may be just beginning their outreach efforts while other libraries may be looking for ways to enhance or improve on the services they currently offer to Spanish speakers.  Similarly, it is understood that libraries may have different levels of resources for this effort. Therefore the suggested activities are broken out into three levels: Getting Started, Involving Staff and Community, and Working in Partnership.


Module Stages Activities
REACHING OUT Getting Started Identify organizations/groups/classes to speak to about the library and set a goal for a certain number of presentations within a year. For suggestions see Community Resources list in the Community Leader Interview Guide
Arrange for library staff to take WebJunction’s Spanish Language Outreach Online Course
Develop and implement a plan to help staff learn basic library Spanish using Infopeople’s Survival Spanish for Library Staff or other resources in WebJunction’s Spanish for Library Staff area
Involving Staff and Community Plan a tour of the library for community leaders to involve them in identifying what library services/computer access to market to Spanish speaking community
Include services to Spanish speakers in library’s strategic plan and make the case to the Library board, Trustees or Friends. For more on strategic planning see courses available at PLA Online Learning.
Participate in at least one community event, fair, or celebration. Arrange for Internet access and share some internet resources for Spanish Speakers to highlight information available to them at the library
Working in Partnership Make the case for funding using 10 Reasons We Buy Spanish Books, available on the REFORMA site, and involve your community partners in advocacy efforts
Use the Spanish Language Outreach Follow-on Curriculum to develop strategies for sustaining relationships with community partners
Designate library staff liaisons to community groups, agencies, organizations. For ideas view the Community Resources list in the Community Leader Interview Guide
Module Stages Activities
SERVICES Getting Started Include bilingual storytimes in your family programming. See the “Cuentame Cuentos” blog with many bilingual storytimes put together by the Salt Lake City Public Library
Make sure the library owns copies of books noted in the Americas Award, Pura Belpré Award, and Tomás Rivera Award
Use the resources in the American Library Association’s DIA – Diversity In Action website to plan a “Día de los Niños, Día de los Libros” event for Spanish-speaking families
Involving Staff and Community Provide instruction in Spanish on basic computer skills, office applications, or Internet and email. See the resources available for computer classes in WebJunction’s Spanish Language Outreach Program.
Work with community leaders to develop Spanish-language access to library web sites.
Partner with a community agency to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Working in Partnership Train Spanish-speaking youth leaders to provide bilingual computer lab hours.
Collaborate with ESL providers in the community to provide/promote online ESL tutorials/classes or existing ESL software
Partner with community organizations that can help host, sponsor, and market library programs and services.


Stages Activities
MARKETING Getting Started Provide bilingual staff with “Yo Hablo Español” name tags
Develop instructions in Spanish on how to get a library card
Use the Spanish Translation of the Library Bill of Rights to help develop an “ABC’s of the library” brochure in Spanish
Involving Staff and Community Improve library signage to help Spanish speakers feel more welcome in the library
Provide orientation and tour of the library in Spanish for a local organization or class.
Work with community leaders to post library information at grocery stores, music stores, athletic facilities, churches, factories, and other job sites for Spanish speakers
Working in Partnership Advertise in local Spanish-language community newspapers, church bulletins and on Spanish-language radio stations
Work with school districts to distribute library information in Spanish through school newsletters and set up table at parent nights with information for whole family including library card applications in Spanish
Partner with ESL group to distribute library information in Spanish and agree to co-market services


Stages Activities
PLANNING Getting Started Study up on published techniques for connecting with your community’s Spanish-speaking patrons
Identify core list of library services to promote to community and develop presentation for community group that highlights information relevant to Spanish speakers
Create a plan for evaluating your library’s outreach activities. See the Success Checklist from WebJunction.
Involving Staff and Community Create a process/schedule for Spanish-speaking community input on collection development
Invite community leaders to review content and translations of library presentations and materials to be distributed to community
Complete Serving Spanish Speaking Communities Success Checklist in partnership with community leader/leaders and prioritize actions to reduce/eliminate barriers to using the library
Working in Partnership Create recruitment and mentoring plan to recruit more Spanish speakers for staff, library board or Friends of the Library. See ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services
Use Community Leader Interview Guide to conduct needs assessment and develop plan for increasing access to public computers
Partner with a workforce training group to develop and deliver Technology or Job Skills classes in Spanish.