by: JOHN HUNTER - John Hunter, Woodburn's Public Library manager, sits with his assistant and translator to take a break from browsing through 300 vendors at Expo Guadalajara located in Mexico.Woodburn Public Library has received more than $7,000 in new books and videos thanks to a recent trip to Mexico.

Library Manager John Hunter and children’s librarian Gladis Martinez attended the International Book Fair Nov. 30-Dec. 8 at Expo Guadalajara, where more than 300 vendors were present.

The American Library Association’s Free Pass Program subsidized Hunter and Martinez six nights’ hotel stay, $200 toward airfare, fair admission and several meals. The city of Woodburn funded additional airfare costs.

“I think it demonstrates the commitment that the city has to providing good public services,” said Hunter. “I’m thrilled that we’re able to make it happen.”

Of the money spent, $4,500 was supplied for adult books, $1,500 on adult audiovisuals and $2,500 on children’s books and audiovisuals combined.

Due to Woodburn’s 60 percent Latino population, Hunter said he feels it’s necessary to have a broad Spanish language collection available for patrons.

“Folks that are much more comfortable in engaging books in Spanish have access to good quality current material,” Hunter said. “Given that 60 percent of our population speaks Spanish at home it’s a way of making sure that the entire community is served by the library and feel welcome at the library.”

All 400 titles have arrived and are scheduled for checkout mid-February.

Genres chosen from Random House and Oceano Publishing include self-help, cooking, do-it-yourself and Mexican history and cultures.

Purchased children’s books from Fondo de Cultura Economica and Lectorum Publications, Inc., include picture books, “easy readers” and several teen books.

“One of the things that encourages kids to read is being able to picture themselves as the main character, as the hero, that ‘if this character can overcome this, then so can I,’” said Martinez. “A lot of the times you don’t get that in books that don’t include Hispanic main characters.”

Martinez hopes that children will be inspired when they see the new materials written in Spanish and authored by a Spanish-speaking native.

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