CHICAGO, April 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Demographers predict that by the year 2050, African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Latino/Hispanics and Native Americans will constitute the majority of Americans. April 30 is El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), also known as Dia, and libraries, families and children will celebrate our nation's rich cultural tapestry.
As our nation becomes more diverse, libraries continue their commitment to connecting children and their families to multicultural books, bilingual services and educational resources. "Dia provides an opportunity for libraries to showcase cultural programs and bilingual resources," said Association of Library Service to Children President Carolyn Brodie. "Hundreds of libraries will host celebrations that will emphasize the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds."
Without reading, everything in life is harder. Low literacy is linked to poverty, crime, dependence on government assistance and poor health. Through literacy initiatives like Dia, libraries are working with parents and caregivers to spread "bookjoy." Current research on early literacy and brain development indicates that it is never too early to prepare children for success as readers.
Libraries are committed to supporting and embracing diversity. According to a study by the American Library Association, Spanish is, by far, the most supported non-English language in public libraries. Seventy-eight percent of libraries reported Spanish as the priority No. 1 language toward which they develop services and programs. Asian languages ranked second in priority at 29 percent. Another 17.6 percent of libraries indicated Indo-European languages as a priority.
Dia supports efforts to help children and their families explore library resources and multicultural activities. For example, in Los Angeles children will enjoy stories, songs, crafts and face painting; while the library provides their parents with literacy resources and information on health and social services. The Bond Hill Library in Cincinnati, Ohio will offer activities in French and Spanish, as well as African drumming and Indian dance.
Parents, caregivers and teachers also can celebrate Dia at home or in their classrooms with free bilingual book lists and activities from the Dia website at http://dia.ala.org. Resources are available in Chinese and Spanish.
Dia is sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association, and is an enhancement of Children's Day, which began in 1925. Children's Day was designated as a day to bring attention to the importance and well-being of children. In 1996, nationally acclaimed children's book author Pat Mora proposed linking the celebration of childhood and children with literacy thus the inception of El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros.
Through a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) continues to increase public awareness of the event in libraries throughout the country. ALSC is collaborating on this effort with Dia's Founder, Pat Mora; and Founding Partner of Dia, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA).
About The Association for Library Service to Children
ALSC is the world's largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children's and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at www.ala.org/alsc.
About Dollar General
Dollar General is a leading discount retailer that has been delivering value to shoppers for more than 70 years with over 10,000 stores in 40 states. Dollar General stores provide convenience and value to customers by offering national brand and private-brand merchandise such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at everyday low prices. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $74 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 4.4 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency.
Established in 1971 as an affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), REFORMA has actively sought to promote the development of library collections to include Spanish-language and Latino oriented materials; the recruitment of more bilingual and bicultural library professionals and support staff; the development of library services and programs that meet the needs of the Latino community; the establishment of a national information and support network among individuals who share our goals; the education of the U.S. Latino population in regards to the availability and types of library services; and lobbying efforts to preserve existing library resource centers serving the interests of Latinos.
SOURCE American Library Association