CALEXICOÂ â€” The Camarena Memorial Library has been selected as one of nine libraries across California to join a pilot program – LeamosTM (Letâ€™s Read) @ the Library. Centro Latino for Literacy (Centro Latino), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles, launched the project to bring its online literacy course to the stateâ€™s non-literate Spanish speakers, which number 573,866 (2009-2011 ACS, PERE pooled file). The two-year pilot project is supported by a grant awarded by the James Irvine Foundation to Centro Latino to explore partnerships with public libraries. Greg Lucas, California State Librarian said, â€œIn a state which gained a Latino plurality [in 2014], it seems at a minimum good common sense to encourage programs like Leamos. Without literacy skills in their native language, proficiency in English becomes significantly harder, if not impossible, to attain.â€
Public libraries will incorporate the use of Leamosâ„¢ as an effective strategy to both promote reading at its most basic level and to effectively outreach to Spanish-speakers in their communities. â€œLeamos @ the Library is the portal for non-literate Spanish speakers to close both the basic and digital literacy gaps and to increase civic engagement,â€ stated AnaMaria Ruiz, Centro Latino Board Liaison, pointing out that a key initiative of the James Irvine Foundation is to increase civic engagement. â€œLearning to read and write is ground zero. Many students have described learning to read and write as being able to see after a lifetime of being blind â€“ â€˜Ya tengo ojos (Now I have eyes)â€™â€.
With assistance from the Camarena Memorial Library, local Spanish speakers who never had opportunity to attend school, will now be able to learn read and write in Spanish to give them the foundational skills, and confidence, to learn English, read with their children, gain better employment and more fully engage in their communities. If you know someone who would benefit from the program, or if you would like more information, please call 760-768-2170.
The program is free of charge, and is supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.