“Both demographically and in the requests we receive from library users, people were looking for Chinese-language material, Hindi, and Telugu"
In February, the Cedar Park Library and Rotary Club of Cedar Park and Leander celebrated the opening of the new World Literacy Center, which will bring more diverse books and materials to an increasingly diverse community. For now, the new section at the front of the library features a few dozen books ranging in difficulty.
"When we created this World Languages collection, we heard the feedback that families want to browse together," Julia Mitschke, the library's director, told Austin’s KVUE. "We moved all the materials that were in those foreign languages to be across all the ages but housed in one section together.”
According to Mitschke, the funding for these new books and section came from a combination of a Texas Book Festival grant and a partnership with the Rotary Club. "The Austin-Cedar Park-Leander area is showing tremendous growth and the people that are moving here are from various different countries or even different parts of the United States but are originally from other countries," Brigid Lester, president of the Rotary Club, said.
Mitschke said the library already has many books in Spanish, so the most desired materials were rooted in Asia. “Both demographically and in the requests we receive from library users, people were looking for Chinese-language material, Hindi and Telugu," Mitschke said.
Mitschke sees this new section as an opportunity to bring different communities and cultures together. “The main thing we do in the World Language Center is take out books on a topic from those different languages," Mitschke said. "Right now, we’re doing biographies and holidays and that enables us to take things from different languages and showcase a commonality like food or celebrations.”