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Bilingual Story Time

Sacramento Public Library - Franklin Community Library

Innovation Leader: Camillus Kerwin, Franklin Community Library Supervisor, ckerwin@saclibrary.org

Problem Statement

The Franklin Community Library is a joint use facility with the Sacramento Public Library and the Elk Grove (CA) Unified School District. Situated on campus between the Franklin High School and Toby Johnson Middle School, the library serves both students and the public. The student population served is very diverse with 27.6% Asian/Filipino and 26.5% Latino. The challenge was how to better serve the families of these students from different cultural backgrounds and the community in which they live

Innovation

To meet the needs and demands of the community, the Franklin Community Library created a bilingual Spanish story time as a Family program offering. Programs are well attended and as a result story times in Japanese, Chinese and Russian were added. Along with the stories there are songs sung in both languages, ethnic dances, and a craft which reinforces the language of the story time and the theme of the stories read. Programs are delivered by a variety of volunteers, working together with library staff. Bilingual tellers include high school students studying Russian and Japanese, Chinese parents who began as participants attending the Spanish story time and wanted stories to reflect their culture, and bilingual library staff.

Progress

On average we have about fifteen families attending the weekly bilingual story time. Some of the attendees at story time are Chinese families and the parents collaborate with staff to present a Chinese/English story time on Saturday mornings. We have plans to incorporate Hmong, Vietnamese, Arabic and German story times and are constantly on the lookout for speakers of another language who would be willing to volunteer to do story time in their language. Our increased capacity to provide programs in many languages helps Sacramento Public Library move forward in our mission to serve our entire community.