On a recent Wednesday at the South Natomas library branch, bilingual youth services librarian Addie Rogers led a group of more than a dozen toddlers and pre-schoolers through a bilingual story time reading of “Loteria.”
Rogers said encouraging a love for books early in young readers is essential for setting up a child’s future success. And increasingly, Sacramentans from Spanish-speaking countries, or who want their children to grow up bilingual, are looking to the library for help.
“Our Spanish collection’s circulation has gone up greatly since we started the program,” Rogers said. “We’re actually getting a lot of requests from parents, like ‘Can you get us a book from Peru, or can you get us a book from Spain?’”
For Erin Duarte, an elementary school teacher at Pony Express, the increase in Spanish-language books stocked at her local Arden-Dimick library has helped several of her students become enthusiastic readers.
Last year, one of her new sixth-grade students who had recently moved to town from Mexico spoke little English. But at the library, Duarte was able to find a Spanish-language version of the wildly popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, along with other books required for class readings.
“I would come in with books, sometimes 15 at a time, and he was so excited. It was just for him, and helped other Spanish speakers who noticed they just felt like reading in Spanish,” Duarte said. “They had something special for them and really increased their want to read.”