GONZALES, La. (BRPROUD) – Four percent of Louisiana’s population speaks Spanish as a sole language.

As this is the case, libraries in Ascension parish want to make sure these residents have a place to get the information they need.

Jeanine Fino, the Adult Literacy Assistant for Ascension Parish Library said, “We don’t want to leave anyone behind in our community. We want everybody to feel included.”

The Ascension Parish Library also offers Bilingual Storytime twice a month. 

“They just came to Louisiana and she thought it would be good not to have just the Spanish being communicated at home, but also being exposed to it in a different place,” Fino said.

Families can participate in activities that take place in Spanish and read the library’s more than 100 Spanish-language books for all ages.

Fino says it’s important to make sure everyone has access to knowledge.

“Maybe some are learning English,” Fino says, “but if they don’t know enough English, you know, or even the little children that maybe have come here as immigrants. Maybe they don’t know enough English to check out a book but the resources that we offer here will be able to help them. And it will encourage them to one day pick out something in English.”

Fino is determined to ensure that the library is a place that has literature for people of all cultures. She told BRProud, “And we want them to see themselves in everything.”

The resources are available to everyone in the community, and Fino believes this is a way to help people learn another language.

She added that she believes everyone should learn to speak two languages.

She explained the benefits of being bilingual, saying, “It’s a very good opportunity to just to be exposed to a new language and a different culture. And I think that not only kids enjoy it, but I think their parents also enjoy it as well.”

The Galvez Branch Library says it intends to offer Bilingual Storytime year-round.

“It’s very important for the community because I think it’s a need,” Fino said.

Anyone interested can attend Bilingual Storytime every third Thursday of the month at Gonzales Library and at Galvez Branch Library every fourth Thursday of the month.

More information can be found here.