"Bilingual Material in Libraries Draws Some Criticism" (NYT/AP)
In Denver, where the foreign-born population tripled between 1990 and 2000, largely because of Mexican immigrants, the public library system is considering reorganizing some of its branches to emphasize bilingual services and material.
Representative Tom Tancredo, Republican of Colorado, sent a public letter to Mayor John W. Hickenlooper of Denver this summer asking if the library was considering Spanish-only branches or converting to Spanish-language material at the expense of English material. Mr. Tancredo, an outspoken critic of American immigration policies, said he had been contacted by concerned librarians and patrons.
"When you have a strong cultural identity and there aren't set incentives to become American, it creates a lot of tension and divides the community," said Mr. Tancredo's spokesman, Will Adams.
Those concerns were echoed by Michael Corbin, a radio talk show host who helped organize a protest outside Denver's central library after sexually graphic content was found in some Spanish-language adult comic books, which were later removed.
Denver library officials say they are not considering Spanish-only branches in their reorganization plan but are simply trying to accommodate a city where 35 percent of residents are Hispanic.
Janet Cox, adult services supervisor at the Pueblo Library District, said: "We provide material to meet the needs of the people in the area, whether that be in English or Spanish or another language. That's important. That's what libraries do."
Hmmm ... I find it interesting how both a Republican representative and a local talk-radio personality are both mobilizing against library service to a third of the city's population. I find it interesting that reading Spanish-language material is not considered a valid part of "becoming American" when that language had permeated the continent's culture centuries earlier than 1776. And I find it interesting that there's a bait-and-switch going on somehow linking "sexually graphic content" and "comic books" with Spanish language material on order to stereotype this culture's reading interests as prurient and juvenile.
What do the rest of you think?