Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Conference addresses Latino options

The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies will hold their biennial National Latino Children’s Literature Conference in Gorgas Library on Thursday and Friday.

(See also “UA to host Latino literacy conference“)

The conference will include teachers, librarians, children’s authors, illustrators, educators, graduate students and other college students who will participate in speeches and learning sessions.

“For the attendees that are teachers and librarians, it gives them information that they need on how to serve Latino and Spanish-speaking populations, and how to select the best literature for those populations,” associate professor and conference chair Jamie Naidoo said.

(See also “Today is brought to you by the letters U and A“)

Naidoo started the conference in 2008 at the University of South Carolina and brought it with him when he made the move to Alabama. He said he began the conference because at the time South Carolina had the fastest growing Latino population in the country. The area of rapid Latino population growth has expanded and now includes Alabama and other states in what he calls the new Latino South.

“Librarians and teachers out west have been serving Latinos for a long time and they have all these strategies that they can share with librarians and teachers over here,” Naidoo said.

He said the conference is meant to share information about the best practices for educating Latino and Spanish-speaking children in their area, something many attendees have not needed to know until now.

Christine Bethard, Naidoo’s graduate assistant, is in her second semester of the library information studies graduate program. She said while there is a larger Latino population than there has ever been, there aren’t a lot of services in literature and having all of the major contributors in that field come together in one place helps keeps the idea moving.

“It’s definitely a connection builder,” Bethard said. “It helps with building intercultural ideas. Any awareness we can bring to the subject really helps.”

One major part of the conference will take place Thursday night at the Tuscaloosa Public Library. Families and children are encouraged to come to a free event where there will be a number of authors and other creative people. Two separate programs will be held at the library, one for children and another for teens and adults. Naidoo said they have had the children’s program in the past, where they have given out books and done storytelling, but the teen program is new.

“For Latino children, it gives them an opportunity to see books about themselves,” Naidoo said. “For non-Latino kids, it introduces them to a culture that is different from their own.”

Bethard said going to the public library is a way for the conference to get the community involved.

“It’s a service that has not been as widely provided as it should have been,” Bethard said. “It helps to broaden children’s understanding of what’s available.”

Bethard also said the conference shows that this is a relevant subject, and that it matters because the more people who come together for the cause, the faster it grows. She said each year the conference has grown in attendance, and more students are coming back to present and be involved.

“The conference is all about building bridges of understanding,” Naidoo said.

(See also “Crossroads celebrates Hispanic Latino heritage“)

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