Archive for the 'advocacy' Category

Health Information Resources for Limited English Proficient Persons

Numerous studies over the past 25 years have demonstrated a strong connection between language and health. Language can affect the accuracy of patient histories, the ability to engage in treatment decision-making, understanding a medical diagnosis or treatment, patient trust level with care providers, underuse of primary and preventative care, and lower use or misuse of medications. Culture also plays a significant role in health, healing and wellness belief systems – impacting how illness, disease, and their causes are perceived by the patient and the care provider.

The story of Mohammad Kochi illustrates how language and culture can impact health outcomes.  Mr. Kochi, a 63-year-old from Afghanistan, is diagnosed with stomach cancer. While he agrees to surgery, he declines chemotherapy due to religious beliefs, language barriers, and family conflict. Mr. Kochi is a Limited English Proficient (LEP) person.

An LEP person is defined as an individual who does not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. An LEP person’s national origin is based on ancestry, not citizenship. There are an estimated 25.3 million LEP individuals in the United States – up 81% since 1990.[1]

These persons are protected under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and all organizations receiving Federal financial assistance have a responsibility to take “reasonable” steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by persons with LEP. Title VI applies to many types of organizations including schools, hospitals, public health clinics, police departments, and social services.

Libraries can play a key role in supporting an organization’s ability to provide meaningful access, especially in the area of health information. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has developed many no-cost LEP-friendly health information resources for a variety of age and language groups. In addition, there are government agencies and authoritative non-profit organizations creating free health information content to address the linguistic diversity of the communities you serve. (Resources)

Spanish is the predominant language – other than English – spoken in the MidContinental Region (MCR) though you may see communities with strong German, French, Vietnamese, Chinese, Navajo, or Algonquian populations[1]. The following table shows the LEP populations ages 5 and over in the MCR[2]:


Supporting LEP Person’s Access to Health Information

Public Libraries

Public libraries are highly focused on serving their local constituency, and continue to be an excellent conduit for transferring health information to community members with trained staff and technology infrastructure. For many citizens, the public library is the go-place for health information.


  1. What languages are represented in your community?
  2. What health information resources do you have access to in other languages?
  3. What organizations in your community might you work with to assist a non-English speaker with health information?


  • Local health departments, emergency responders, police and fire departments, clinics, hospitals, schools, churches.

K-12, Colleges, and Universities

Students whose first language is not English require language supports in order to meaningfully participate in school. Schools must also adequately communicate with limited-English-speaking parents about important school-related information in their preferred language.[1]

If you work in a K-12 setting, educators can utilize these resources in the classroom to help introduce, reinforce, and supplement health and science curricula; and school nurses can use them to enhance communication with students and parents. Here are the percentages of school-aged children of immigrants in the MCR[2]:

  • Colorado        24.30%
  • Kansas            28.52%
  • Missouri         29.67%
  • Nebraska        30.29%
  • Utah                29.06%
  • Wyoming        dataset too small for percentage

If you work with colleges or universities offering allied health or health sciences degrees, students would benefit from knowledge of these resources as future healthcare workers.


  1. What languages are represented in your school district, college, or university?
  2. What health information resources do you have in other languages?
  3. Who in your institution or community would benefit from these resources?
  4. Do you have access to trained interpreters? If so, what languages?


  • Teachers, faculty, school nurses, students, parents, administrators.

Medical Care and Public Health

Communication problems are the most common cause of serious adverse events with LEP patients and clients. They are at higher risk for longer hospital stays, readmission, misdiagnosis, and inappropriate treatment.


  1. What languages are represented in communities served by the medical care or public health staff?
  2. What health information resources do you have in other languages?
  3. Who in your institution or community would benefit from these resources?
  4. Do you have access to trained interpreters? If so, what languages?


  • Clinical staff, compliance staff, volunteers, case workers, patient navigators.

[1] U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. Title VI Enforcement Highlights, July 2012, p. 13. Accessed July 18, 2014.

[2] Urban Institute, Children of Immigrants Data Tool, 2011. Accessed July 21, 2014.

[1] See the Resources section for multi-language and language identification tools.

[2] Authors’ tabulations from the US Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey (Table B16001. Language Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak English for the Population 5 Years and Over). Accessed July 18, 2014.

[1]Migration Policy Institute, Limited English Proficient Population of the United States. Accessed July 18, 2014.

Denver Mini Maker Faire Recap

The State Library hosted a booth at the Denver Mini Maker Faire this past weekend, and were joined by the Aurora Public Library, Arapahoe Library District, the Colorado Library Consortium (CLiC), Douglas County Public Libraries, and Jefferson County Public Libraries. Everyone brought something along for attendees to play with, and it was a blast!

Everyone loved Aurora’s marble roller coaster, made with just cardstock and tape, particularly the younger set. You can find the kit online, and each of the Aurora branches will be building their own to coincide with summer reading.

The Occulus Rift that Arapahoe brought was certainly the biggest draw, with a line most of the day both Saturday and Sunday. However, people loved playing with all of our tech, and making buttons and LED badges to wear.

We also happened to be just across from the Denver Public Library’s “Toy Hack,” which lead to some inventive, and at times disturbing, creations.

Overall, the Maker Faire was a great opportunity to get to talk to people about what libraries are offering in the way of new technology and makerspaces, and we were able to have fun while doing it!

Outside the Lines: Libraries Reintroduced

Posted on behalf of Jacqueline Murphy, Colorado State Library

Inspired by the importance of shifting perceptions of libraries, a group of Colorado library marketers and directors have developed a bold new campaign designed to reintroduce our Colorado libraries to their communities through  a week long celebration September 14-20, 2014. The statewide effort is designed for libraries of all types and sizes to “shake things up” in their community in a way that fits their resources and identity (both staff- and dollar-wise).  It could be as simple as a cupcake maker station-stand in front of the library, or as elaborate as installing a Camp Happiness (Anythink) site at the DMV!

To participate, get creative ideas and receive updates leading up to the celebration week, sign up at
Stay tuned and have fun!

CLEL Bell Awards

New Picture Book Award To Support Early Literacy
Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy Launches the CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards


Denver, Colorado, May 17, 2013 – Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy ( an advisory group to the Colorado State Library, is excited to announce the inaugural year of the CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards, a new children’s literature award created to recognize picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children.

The first CLEL Bell Awards will be announced February 5, 2014, one title in each of five categories representing an early literacy practice: Read, Write, Sing, Talk, and Play. Research has shown that engaging children in these practices builds language skills and prepares children to become successful readers.

“I am thrilled to have these new awards!” says Carol Edwards, Co-Manager of Children and Family Services at Denver Public Library and a Bell Awards Selection Committee member. “Being aware of the new books coming out and paying attention to the ways they can extend conversation and interaction with children—beyond the act of reading—seems like strong support for our work in libraries with this age group.”

Suggestions for consideration for the 2014 awards are accepted through November 15, 2013 at the CLEL website ( Winning titles will demonstrate content or theme related to one of the early literacy practices, and encourage interaction between adults and children. The five award winners will be released with support materials that describe how each title supports early literacy development, and with suggestions for ways parents, caregivers, and librarians can extend the reading experience with children, through shared activities appropriate for home, childcare settings, and library storytime.

Fostering community discussion about the nominated titles is one of the goals of the Bell Awards, and conversation will be encouraged via regular posts on the CLEL blog ( and through social media.

“Getting the conversation going about how books really can make a difference in encouraging parents and caregivers to increase their early literacy interactions seems like a win-win to me,” says Edwards. “It’s a win for the professionals who introduce new books and encourage best practices, and it’s a win for the child who benefits from more singing, talking, writing, reading, and playing.”

The Selection Committee is comprised of CLEL members from several Colorado public libraries: Shirley Anderson, High Plains Library District; Carol Edwards, Denver Public Library; Jaime Gotlieb, Douglas County Libraries; Rachel Hartman, Denver Public Library; Barbara Huff, Pikes Peak Library District; Sarah Johnson, Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library; Mary Kuehner, Jefferson County Public Library; Danica Midlil, Douglas County Libraries; Susan Oakes, Denver Public Library (retired); Carol Wagstaff, Douglas County Libraries; and is chaired by Melissa Depper, Arapahoe Library District.
For more information, visit the CLEL Bell Awards webpages ( or contact the Selection Committee at

About CLEL

Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy is an advisory group to the Colorado State Library, created in 2008. CLEL members work to strengthen children’s literacy through library services and community advocacy.

Banned Websites Awareness Day

Internet filtering – that is, highly restrictive internet filtering – is a problem in some school libraries, and it can negatively impact student learning and achievement. With that in mind, the American Association of  School Librarians (AASL) designated Wednesday, September 28 as the first annual Banned Websites Awareness Day in order “to raise awareness of the overly restrictive blocking of legitimate, educational websites and academically useful social networking tools in schools and school libraries.”

Schools all over the country participated in Banned Websites Awareness activities and some were featured in the New York Times. Colorado’s own Silver Creek High School in Longmont “held a “graffiti debate” on censorship on Wednesday: Should schools block Web sites? On sheets of white butcher paper hanging in the library, they wrote lists of the pros and cons of online access.” Silver Creek’s librarian, Phil Goerner, organized the debate to encourage students to think more deeply about ethical issues related to censorship, including how it can take away a person’s voice. Continue reading ‘Banned Websites Awareness Day’

What’s Next?! – Library Advocacy and BHAG 3.0

On behalf of Shelley Walchak:

Library advocacy can’t just start and stop. It needs to be continuous. (Because those who speak against the public sector don’t take holidays.) To that end, I wanted to announce two things:

  1. The BHAG website is still up and running, still the go-to place for ideas, tips, and support.
  2. BHAG 3.0 is about encouraging all of us to start coordinating our messages. Which messages? The same four, because YOU HAVE TO REPEAT MESSAGES MANY TIMES BEFORE THEY ARE COMMUNICATED. (Sorry to yell at you.)

The top post at the BHAG website explains all this in more detail. But here’s the brief focus: between October and December, we should all try to underscore a message that resonates well with our patrons. That message is:
“Libraries build community.” Continue reading ‘What’s Next?! – Library Advocacy and BHAG 3.0′

Youth Services Workshops – Register Now!

Registration for the 2011 Youth Services Workshops is now open. Public librarians, school librarians, and those interested in youth services programming are all welcome and encouraged to attend. Register now! (Please register at least 1 week in advance.)

Download flyer (PDF)


READ Pins for Summer Reading 2012 – ORDER NOW!

You may now place your order for READ pins for the 2012 statewide summer reading program.

We received 158 votes for this year’s pin (!!!), but this design (adjusted due to 2012 READ Pinfeedback from many of you) was the clear winner.

Following the same procedure as previous years, the Colorado State Library will place a large pin order and would be glad to “piggyback” and add your order to ours. This is a great way to promote next year’s programs, and placing a large order will make it cost effective for all of us.

Pricing details: $0.60 each (lower than last year!)

You will be emailed an invoice with the total amount owed, and this will be payable once you receive the pins in late September/early October. NOTE: A $5 shipping & handling charge will be added for orders being shipped outside of Colorado.

We will submit our bulk order on 8/12, so please submit your order NO LATER THAN Thursday, August 11th. Thank you!

Vote Now for the 2012 Summer Reading READ Pin Design

Here’s your chance to give us your opinion about the 2012 summer reading READ pin design!

The summer reading theme for 2012 is nighttime.

  • Children’s slogan:  Dream Big – Read
  • Teen slogan:  Own the Night
  • Adult slogan:  Between the Covers

We need your responses by Friday, July 29th, 5pm.

New Study: CO Public Library Use Increased During Recession

The Library Research Service just released a study on the recession’s impact on public library use. The findings indicated that in 2006 to 2007 (prior to the recession), use, as measured by visits, circulation, program attendance, and Internet use, remained relatively static or decreased in Colorado public libraries.

In contrast, use increased by between 6% and 28% during the recession (2007 to 2009).

View the complete report as well as a Fast Facts highlighting key findings