Education, Springfield

Spanish Book Club offers cultural exchange

Kristen Curé, Latino liaison and adult services librarian, poses next to the Spanish books that the Spanish Language Book Group has read over the years. Participants read a book for two months with two meetings to discuss the story Photo provided/Springfield Library

SPRINGFIELD – Book clubs have always been an opportunity to share ideas and learn from one another, and with the Springfield Library’s Spanish Language Book Group there is also the benefit of a cultural exchange.
”Everyone has different experiences and backgrounds, and they all come together and share ideas,” Latino Liaison and Adult Services Librarian Kristen Curé said.
The book club will be meeting again on Jan. 11 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to discuss ”Puñalada Trapera,” a collection of short stories by contemporary Columbian authors showcasing the rich diversity of modern Columbian literature.
The program is sponsored by Joan Gray and Harris Hoffman through the Oregon Community Foundation.
Their funding specifically goes towards diversity programming, and because the Spanish-speaking community is the largest and most underserved, Curé said, the majority of funding is allocated to those projects.
The Spanish Language Book Group has been around for years and Curé said it started because it was requested by Spanish-speaking patrons. The club will read one book for two months and have two meetings to discuss it.
”It takes longer because we all have busy lives and it can take some time to read,” Curé said, adding that there’s also a wide range of language skills in the group. Although two thirds of the group are native speakers, there is still a variety of reading levels.
The group reads novels and short stories, as well as non-fiction essays. This month’s book, ”Puñalada trapera,” was selected partly because a few patrons of the groups are immigrants from Columbia. Curé said that it can be a challenge to find the best Spanish books, so every few years a librarian will go to the world’s second biggest book fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, to select books for the library’s Spanish collection and book group.
The library will stock 11 to 12 copies of the book that are always all checked out and some are returned quickly to allow for more people to read it.
Curé said there are around seven to 14 patrons who meet to discuss the book each month.
Curé said that every book club has the community building aspect that will bring people together, noting Springfield has an English language book club as well. Beyond building a community, the group helps build self-satisfaction.
”As a librarian, one uplifting story – one participant who came confided in me that she had never read an entire book before,” Curé said. ”She immigrated here as a young mother and couldn’t finish high school. She’s since gone back to school and it was really nice that she felt welcome here.”



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