Part of the reason “change is the only constant” is cliché is because it holds true in many different contexts. Libraries are not what they were one hundred years ago. One could argue they are not even what they were fifty years ago. Societies evolve, populations fluctuate, and norms shift. As librarians, we are called to meet the needs of our patrons, though who or what falls under the umbrella term of “patrons” often depends on the library’s mission statement.
For the last few decades, the Latinx community has been seen as flourishing. Even with the recent decline in the growth rate following the recession discussed by Stepler and Lopez at the Pew Research Center (2016), the Latinx population continues to factor greatly into the changing social outlook of the United States. While not a perfect comparison, Columbia Gorge Community College Library (CGCC Library) has elements reflective of the phenomenon as a whole, though the evidence is more pronounced in the larger U.S. population. Compared to institutions in the Southwestern and Northeastern states, the Pacific Northwest, and rural Oregon in particular, appear to be taking longer to feel the fluctuations in Latinx demographics. This seems evident because public libraries in general have had a lengthier history of working with Latinxs than a very small, rural, Pacific Northwest, community college’s academic library like CGCC. Consequently, librarians like myself have an excellent opportunity to reflect more closely on what other libraries have accomplished so far and how it can be translated to institutions like ours. The REFORMA tagline is “the national association to promote library and information services to Latinxs and the Spanish-speaking,” and it’s five primary goals include activities like “advocacy on behalf of the information needs of the Latino community” and “development of Spanish-language and Latino-oriented library collections” (“About REFORMA,” n.d.). REFORMA OR is one chapter of this larger organization. The people that make up REFORMA OR represent many types, sizes, and populations of Oregon libraries; their workplaces run the gamut from tiny county libraries to large public research university libraries and everything in between. This characteristic of the chapter and organization — the variation in the libraries that REFORMA OR represents — is one of the primary benefits.
Martínez Mercier, G.
Change is the only Constant: Serving the Latinx Community With Help From REFORMA Oregon.
© 2017 Gabriela Martínez Mercier
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