Alachua County Library-Partnering with the Latina Womens League to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Alachua County Library – Partnering with the Latina Women’s League to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
Travis Fristoe works in the Adult Services Department of the Alachua County Library in Florida. The following interview by MLIS student, Rebecca Paul, is a great example of how a partnership with a community organization that serves Spanish speakers can lead to a flourishing community event.
How would you describe the community of Alachua County Library District?
The Downtown branch is located in North Central Florida. The city of Gainesville has the largest state university which brings in a diverse population. Gainesville currently has about 155,000 people with 6.4% being of Hispanic origin. The county, as a whole, is agriculturally based. There is a different dynamic in Gainesville than in the rest of the county and it is interesting to think about how we can best reach the entire county and community.
What partnerships has the library fostered with the Hispanic community?
The Latina Women’s League came to us wanting to host a five week film festival at the downtown headquarters during Hispanic Heritage Month. They selected the movies, brought in speakers, discussed the films and arranged for food. I was able to come in and help set up the projector, as well as do a few other essentials. We show independent and African films regularly to the community so we were very much prepared for what the Latina Women’s League asked of us. We provided the space, speakers, projectors, chairs and the sound system.
How were the films chosen?
All the films were fairly recent. They were feature films as opposed to documentaries. They also were chosen for geographic appeal and to hopefully generate dialogue.
Were all the films in Spanish?
Most were in Spanish, with sub-titles. There were a few exceptions. The film A Day Without Mexicans was in English, another Brazilian film was in Portuguese.
How was the film festival advertised?
It was a joint effort between the Latina Women’s League and the Alachua County Library. A local newspaper did a spread on the event, they generated their own posters, and we have an in house graphic designer who did a poster for us. We put information on our main website, it was mentioned in the seasonal program guide, we sent flyers to local restaurants and we let bilingual education departments at the college know of the event. It’s important to use as many venues as possible.
When did the event take place?
It took place once a week on Saturdays at 2 pm. We decided that this would be the best time for working families and students in the area. There was a large turn-out with up to 100 people in attendance. One well represented group was middle age, Latina women. There were fewer students than I had expected.
How do you think this event benefits the Hispanic Community?
People showed up early and stayed late. This event was very social and interactive. People seemed excited and interested in what the films would offer. There were many connections being made. Speakers were brought in to discuss certain issues that came out of the films. The film Valentine, in particular, had some political undertones that needed to be talked about. The film was a good choice as it was both entertaining and educational. This event also helped raise awareness of the resources the library is able to offer. A few people were not aware of our foreign language section.
Will the library co-sponsor this event again in the future?
If the Latina Women’s League would like to then we are up for it. This film festival has also led to other groups coming forward and asking to utilize our space. We provided Library card applications and library information. So these events will only increase attendance to the library, which is always a goal.
How will the partnership with the Latina Women’s league continue to grow?
They want to offer homework help or bilingual classes here in the library. We are willing to help them out in anyway we are able.
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