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Librarians react to the humanitarian crisis at the border »Public libraries online

PLA Contributor Might 22, 2019

by Patrick Sullivan, Emeritus Librarian at San Diego State College. Contact Patrick at Patrick is at present reading Omar Delgado Ellos Nos Cuidania

Librarians Oralia Garza de Cortés and Lucía González first forged their votes at the 2014 REFORMA assembly held at the Annual Conference of the American Library Affiliation (ALA) in Las Vegas.
Librarians can do something to help hundreds of unaccompanied youngsters and adolescents arriving in Central America and arrested at the southern border.

Five years later, members of REFORMA are still livid about the immorality of steady arrest and imprisonment for youngsters who have been granted asylum, however are denied human rights. Nonetheless, the large community of volunteers working on this venture continues to be on the lookout for new partners and buying, getting ready and delivering Spanish-language books for newly arrested Central American youngsters.

Youngsters, mainly younger individuals in Central America, proceed violence and persecution in the arms of gangs and corrupt authorities forces in their nation. In recent times, the US government has stopped tens of hundreds of young individuals, but the variety of young individuals and families fleeing their lives continues. According to Washington Submit, a document 107 212 "family units" have been arrested during the monetary yr 2018,
exceeding a report of 77 887 households arrested in the monetary yr
2016. [1]

Delivered in September 2014, when Silvia Cisneros, then REFORMA president, traveled to McAllen (TX) eagerly to perform pre-registered tales and free guide sharing in Spanish for every detained baby. On arrival, he shortly observed that there was no story, and was advised that he might depart the donation subject predominantly. He turned to Sister Norma Pimentel's Catholic charity. There he witnessed emotional moments when the first refugee baby signed a booklet that required a guide to accompany the baby on their journey to unite with the household here in the United States. A library card has been offered in the Youth Books (IBBY) to be added to be sure that new immigrants receive info on the public library system and all the things it could actually supply.

From there, CIC began to design a technique that permits us to get to Texas Detention Centers and California Shelters. Along the approach, we now have joined organizations and individuals who’re dedicated to serving the most weak youngsters. Thanks to the beneficiant grants offered by the IBBY, the Youngsters's Library Service Affiliation (ALSC) and the Usko Studying Basis, the Youngsters's Crisis Challenge has purchased and continued to supply books to numerous places and premises throughout the nation and caravans. In Mexico

In 2015, a powerful delegation of 20 representatives of REFORMA and IBBY was held at the US-Mexico border in McAllen. The group was in a position to donate books to youngsters underneath immigration and customs control, in addition to to different youngsters of migrant youngsters, similar to Pimentel, who used the humanitarian temple of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, Nueva Esperanza Southwest Key Shelter, outdoors Brownsville and Brownsville Public Library. We additionally met representatives of the ProBAR challenge, a legal group for bono immigration, to get a better image of the state of affairs on the ground.

Throughout these efforts, we now have established robust hyperlinks with non-profit organizations akin to Southwest Key and Youngsters in Defense (KIND), a nationwide, pro-bono, immigrant legal defense program. The KIND connection began with the latest REFORMA, REFORMA del Valle Central in Fresno (CA), however has since expanded to New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Los Angeles and past. We are additionally working with other authorized workplaces comparable to Casa Cornelia Regulation Middle in San Diego and legal professionals, reminiscent of Virginia Raymond at Austin (TX), which give books for youngsters and families visiting these workplaces as part of their immigration process.

KIND, in Fresno, organizes a resource truthful for the youngsters of immigrants and their carers, where native REFORMA figures relate to other group organizations so they can present books for the entire household. In addition, Orange County chapter, Los Angeles chapter, LIBROS in San Diego chapter, El Paso chapter, New Mexico chapter, San Antonio chapter, Corazon de Tejas chapter Austin (TX), Northeast, Florida Chapter, and lots of particular person Reformists Key Shelter, Crittenton Shelters, Catholic Charities, Quick Community, and Phoenix Restoration Middle.

We’ll proceed to improve the variety of shelters and safety employees to link with local libraries so that the youngsters arrested can share the pleasure of tales, art and concepts and different enjoyable studying experiences whereas ready for them to be reunited with their households. 19659004] Since 2015, San Diego Public Library librarian Ady Huertas has worked tirelessly with native guards since 2015, providing library visits, handicrafts, guide donations, summer time packages, and lots of extra. "Even though the connection may take some time and be able to go to shelters or bring them away, you should try it," Huertas stated. “Once you have confirmed this trust and relationship, you can continue to serve these young people. Keep it as it is worth it and it is important. ”[2]

The REFORMA CIC challenge lately expanded the work to Arizona, which donated books to the Tucson Detention Road. We’ve additionally worked with non-profit organizations all through the nation with comparable considerations. When Philadelphia-based Mighty Writers encountered the drawback of being denied the potential to donate tons of of lovely Spanish-language youngsters's books that they had collected particularly for detained youngsters, REFORMA helped them. We have been in a position to facilitate the transfer of books from their workplaces in Philadelphia to El Paso, Texas, which distributed books to native shelters.

The visibility of the REFORMA CIC venture has been present at main events and conferences, reminiscent of the 2018 ALA Annual Convention in New Orleans, aimed at informing librarians about the humanitarian crisis at the border and alluring them to entry immigrant families or work with different established immigration help teams. One such program at the ALA Convention (“Central American Connections”) included a panel of well-known Salvadoran author and founder of the Dream Library in El Salvador, Jorge Argueta; Bill Cartwright Group Libraries in Riecken, with over 60 libraries in Guatemala and Honduras; and Jenny Lizarraga from Cinco Books. They provided us a singular perspective on the Central American Library state of affairs and provided public librarians the alternative to help in Central America.

Lately, we bought books at the Guadalajara Ebook Truthful which have been delivered instantly to Central America by way of IBBY, who have been ready for entry to the United States at the Tihuan border. As well as, members of the San Diego and REFORMA del Valle Central Council traveled to the Tijuana Shelter to donate books and take part in craft actions, as youngsters arriving in the South waited for entry to their immigration practices in the United States. [19659004] In 2019, librarians are stuck in the ground and delivered books to various Phoenix areas, they usually be sure that the young, imprisoned asylum seekers there and people who journey with their families get the books that accompany them and that they perceive the help and libraries can supply. With the current grant from the Studying Basis, we’ll continue our efforts to present books for giant youngsters's caravans, who will proceed to arrive at the southern border and any youngsters arrested once they have crossed it. on the border. Over the past 5 years, we’ve got acquired beneficiant scholarships and individual donations from devoted Spanish-language suppliers who have offered us with direct donations, steep reductions, or abandoned transport costs. Linda Goodman, the legendary founder of bilingual publications, was the first and strongest donor and loads of donations from Spanish books in recent times from TOMO Books and Cinco Books and lots of others highlighted on CIC's web site. Cortés and I
chaired the CIC undertaking. Sandra Rios Balderrama is a social media coordinator who brings visibility to work and reveals many opportunities to work with area people organizations.

The primary players in all of this work are members of REFORMA who work both via their readings or with other librarians, warning us and responding to native wants. We thank many supporters for the REFORMA CIC venture. We are all volunteers, and all the funds we receive are used only for e-book purchases and transportation prices. If your library would really like to work on a REFORMA CIC challenge to get books for Central American immigrant youngsters, both in the local regulation
workplace, useful resource truthful, shelter, detention middle, bus station or local library, or in case your library is involved in CIC help for immigration cooperation in Central America for his or her youngsters and their
families, go to the web site under or e-mail us.

It was a very devastating time for immigrants and refugees, when the
Trump administration launched a "zero-tolerance" immigration policy on the border, which doubled immigrants 'arrests and pulled their youngsters out of their mother and father' weapons. The worry and destruction brought on by the separation of families at the border prompted critical trauma and separation among youngsters affected by nervousness. Once we stand at this junction in American life, now that we know the earth we stand, weaken beneath us, we turn to the big Woman Liberty and ponder the symbolism of her phrases:

Send these, homeless, embarrassing
to me
carry the lamp subsequent to the golden door! 3
The front-line librarians
doing this work are elevating their lamps daily
for in the present day's refugee youngsters by giving them the mild
in trouble-free occasions and the ebook that
follows them by way of the golden
door [1]

What you are able to do
1. Meet your group's non-profit organizations working with immigrant households. Supply to arrange a small Feria de libro (library bookstore) where youngsters can browse and discover books they would like to read. Give them free tickets to la hora de cuentos (Storytime), followed by a small handicraft related to the story that youngsters can take house with them. Be certain that they take their free books with them.
2. Hold the Immigration Rights Discussion board in a public library. Invite legal professionals from organizations representing immigrant rights who will help migrant families and young individuals move round a posh maze that is ICE.
three. Donate cash. The money collected is used to purchase books in Spanish and send them to their destination. Visit and select CIC and DONATE. In case you are also aware of scholarships that may help in your efforts, please let us know.
four. Contact REFORMA CIC for contact:
• Oralia Garza de Cortés (
• Patrick Sullivan (
• Sandra Ríos Balderrama (sriosbe @ gmail .fi)
• Web site:
• Fb:
• Instagram: @reformacic


Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey, “The number of families that cross the US border when Trump threatens New Crackdown,” Washington Submit, October 17, 2018, reached January 12, 2019. for Youngsters ”, Faculty Library Journal, August 3, 2018,
February. 26, 2019.

Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus (1883).

Tags: Libraries Response to the Humanitarian Crisis