Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Toolkit: Spanish-Speaking Populations

San Mateo County Libraries Spanish Section

The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee is devoting the 2020-2021 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  Each toolkit page will provide professional and leisure reading recommendations, support for programming, and materials for families.  As dynamic documents, these pages will continue to grow and develop as we find new resources, share our experiences, and continue to learn.

This month, our LSCUTC Toolkit focuses on resources for serving Spanish-speaking populations. According to Census data, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States with approximately 42 million speakers (Source: 

Most of our resources focus on creating an inclusive space for Spanish-speaking families through materials, programs, and outreach. When working with specific communities, be aware of the importance of cultural authenticity in your approach, partnerships, and resources. Building trust and relationships with specific communities is at the foundation of successful service to underserved populations. As you explore our toolkit, consider how your institution is systemically committed to serving these diverse populations; including diverse hiring, cultural authenticity of resources and partnerships, and building of trust.   

Resources in this toolkit also include a small focus on migrant communities.Though we are focusing on Spanish speakers, we acknowledge that there is an overlap with Indigenous languages and that there is a diverse mix of cultures within this population. 

What you will find in this toolkit:

  • Picture books, early chapter books, and middle grade books for children of various ages and caregivers.
  • Professional resources such as articles and books that provide research-based information and ideas for serving Spanish-speaking populations, especially children.
  • Materials you can purchase for your library’s children’s room and to use in your library programming that will help create an inclusive environment for Spanish-speaking library users.
  • Examples of community resources for partnerships and recommendations when serving Spanish-speaking populations.

If your library is just beginning its journey serving Spanish speakers, a great resource to get started is the REFORMA website. Although becoming a member keeps you informed, there are also free resources on the website including a short list of information for libraries and librarians serving Latinos and Spanish-speaking communities.

Take a moment to visit the LSUCTC Toolkit for all our recommended resources! 

We would love your help!  Please email us with your recommendations, favorite resources, and inspiring community outreach endeavors:  We would love to add your recommendations to our Toolkit sheet.  If you are willing to share your successful programming ideas and experiences, we would love to highlight those as well.


Emily R. Aguiló-Pérez is an assistant professor of English (Youth Literature) at West Chester University. She previously served on the 2018 Pura Belpré Award committee and will be serving on the 2022 Newbery Award committee.

Melody Leung is a Children’s Librarian with the Whatcom County Library System in Washington State. She has delivered Prime Time family reading programs and book groups for kids who just need a little boost of confidence. Previously, she served on the 2020 Geisel Award Committee.

Photo credit: “‘East Palo Alto Library’s Spanish language collection.” by San Mateo Public Libraries is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit


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