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3rd Annual Latino Literacy Roundtable A Success
4/9/2014
Patricia Montiel-Overall, Ph.D.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
by: Patricia Montiel-Overall, Ph.D.

Section: News Articles



April 2014

Dr. Patricia Montiel-Overall is an Associate Professor School of Information Resources and Library Science and an Affiliate Professor Mexican American Studies College of Social and Behavioral Science The University of Arizona

The 3rd Annual Latino Literacy Roundtable was another successful event.   The event was held on March 14, 2014 at the Arizona Historical Society.  Members of the Tucson community joined faculty from the University of Arizona, students, and parents to discuss Digital Literacy.  Several sponsors of the Latino Literacy Roundtable were present at the opening of the LLR to greet participants at the all day event.  Included were the Dean of the University of Arizona Libraries, Karen Williams, City of Tucson Council Member for Ward 1, Regina Romero and her aide Laura Dent, and the Mexican Consúl, Ricardo Pineda and his aide, Sebastián Alfonso Galván-Duque Covarrubias, and Arizona Historical Society Educational Outreach Director, Mary Ann Ruelas.

...one was particularly enlightening. Dr. Ceja spoke about a little town in Michoacan Mexico and how a member of the community works on recording the major religious celebration to share with those that now live in the US

 
Presenters at the LLR
 
The LLR focused on digital literacy this year with a panel of three faculty members from the University of Arizona presenting on various aspects of digital literacy.   Dr. Janet Ceja, Assistant Professor at the School of Information Resources and Library ScienceDr. Rosario Carrillo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies, and Verónica Reyes-Escudero, Associate Librarian and Borderlands Curator in Special Collections.  A summary of their presentations below illustrates the depth of the discussions at the LLR.
 
Dr. Rosario Carrillo opened the panel discussion by presenting on Learning and Digital Literacy.  She explained that digital literacy is used in many different ways, and that much of the variation is due to the abundance of technology available today including production media, social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), data processing, data management, and data mining.  There are also learning and teaching technology tools including distributive sites, virtual reality and simulated environments, as well as MOOs—multi-user object oriented systems.  This presentation provided an overview of various technology tools connected with the concept of digital literacy.  Given that learning is mediated through these types of new technologies emphasis is placed on the multimodal, participatory, and collaborative meaning-making enabled through digital literacy.
 
Dr. Janet Ceja presented on Digital Literacy Hacks: The Case of Amateur Video Production.  The presentation was about her work with a rural community in Mexico, which involves video productions. She explained that by outsourcing video production services aimed at documenting a yearly religious fiesta, members of this community manage to achieve digital literacy in spite of the conditions affecting their ability to be proficient in the use and comprehension of information and communication technologies.  The videos, in turn, act as a record of their cultural tradition, which are viewed locally and sent abroad to the U.S.  This case has implications for understanding digital literacy as a means for self-expression and visual communication amongst communities separated by the U.S. Mexico-border.
 
Verónica Reyes-Escudero presented on Digital Assets for the Community: Reaching Beyond the Archive.  She explained that digital literacy begins with knowing and understanding the landscape of digital assets at your fingertips. Based on experience, Ms. Reyes-Escudero discussed what goes into putting up an online exhibition and digital collections. The Arizona History/Social Studies common core calls for familiarity with primary source material. The goal of the session is to familiarize teachers and interested members of the community with the primary source material that is freely available online for use by the community and in the classroom.
 
Reports From the Roundtables
 
Roundtable discussions followed the presentations.  A summary of the discussions included the following key points:
 
*Digital technology can be used to help students, parents, library users make connections.  Librarians can help teachers because they aren’t trained in digital technologies and neither are parents.
 
*Digital technology can be used to help students, parents, library users make connections.  Librarians can help teachers because they aren’t trained in digital technologies and neither are parents.
 
* Librarians could serve as the mediators of communication and cultural collaborations between transborder Mexican communities.
 
*  Libraries could play a significant role in promoting transborder digital literacy projects in Mexico and the U.S. 
 
*Focus on what the community wants leads to passion for a collection.
 
*Work is needed to make Spanish language repositories more authentic (e.g., Spanish language repositories are being established but Software doesn’t read accent marks so Spanish translations of works if difficult).
 
* Latino students don’t have the same access to technology such as computers or to the software they need to finish projects. 
 
* We need academia to bridge the digital literacy gap.
* Learning takes place outside the classroom and we need to capitalize on the outside environment for teaching and learning digital technology.
 
Poster Presentations
 
The afternoon session included poster presentations.  The posters included posters from librarians, students, and faculty.
 
*Dawn Gardner, Pima County Public Library presented a poster on a public library program “Welcome to America Video Project: Facilitating Library Use for the Refugee Community and Other Non-English Speaking Patrons.” 

*Margaret Bly, Knowledge River Scholar at the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science presented a poster on “Historical Causes of Anti-Latino Sentiment and How Archivists Can Help Turn the Tide.”
 
*Anne Spire, University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science and John Hernández, Knowledge River Scholar, University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science presented a poster on “ Digital Literacy Gaps: Ethical Issues, Implications and Consequences to Latino Digital Literacy.”
 
*Monique N. Pérez, University of Arizona Graduate Student presented a poster on “Parental Involvement and Early Childhood Biliteracy Among Mexican Descent Parents.”
 
*Lizeth Zepeda, Knowledge River Scholar, University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science presented on “Visible Culture, Enduring Memory: Sharing Historic Photos of Arizona's Mexican Heritage with the Digital Generation.”
 
*Azul Gómez, Faculty Librarian, Mesa Community Library and Elisabeth Rodríguez, Faculty Librarian, Mesa Community College presented a poster on “Promoting Arizona Chicano/a History through Latino Student Engagement: Utilizing Hispanic Heritage Month to Promote Cultural Awareness & Information Literacy”
 
This year’s author’s included two local emerging Latino authors who spent many years as librarians in the Pima County Public Library.  Mr. Antonio Sóliz Gómez,  author of Amen Again in 2012: Pelón on the Lam, and Mr. Frank de la Cruz, author of The Miss Illegal Alien Beauty Pageant.  The authors discussed their books during lunch followed by book signing.  The authors were also featured on a panel the following day at the Tucson Festival of Books.  The panel was sponsored by Nuestras Raíces of the Pima County Public Library.
 
Reflections on the LLR
 
Participants’ reflections on the LLR indicate enthusiasm and support for the event as shown by the following statements:
 
Dr. Carrillo made the statement that no one is "illiterate." I think the view on that alone is a powerful one when using Latino people because of societies perspective on Latino's in labeling them as illiterate.  
 
… one was particularly enlightening. Dr. Ceja spoke about a little town in Michoacán Mexico and how a member of the community works on recording the major religious celebration to share with those that now live in the US. 
 
The roundtable also highlighted the dedication librarians, library staff and library students have in helping the community.  The LLR is also a place to learn about new and existing resources so we can connect the community and students to these wonderful resources.
 
 [It] provided a platform for scholars to share their research, practical experience, and participate in a dialogue that focused on the very important issue of "digital literacy" in the Latin@ community.
 
LLR Builds Community

The Latino Literacy Roundtable was founded three years ago by a faculty member in the School of Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona.  With Latinos currently representing 1.9 million individuals living Arizona, and the numbers are expected to increase according to the Pew Research Center it is important for communities like Tucson, Arizona and other communities to celebrates Latinos’ rich cultural and linguistic background and to showcases the best of the Latino scholarship, community building, and library and information science services around literacy.
 
The annual event takes place each spring on the Friday before the Tucson Festival of Books   Next year’s Latino Literacy Roundtable will be held on March 13, 2015, from 9 AM to 3 PM.
 
LLR Partners
 
This year’s Latino Literacy Roundtable partners included REFORMA, the UofA Department of Mexican American Studies, UofA Libraries, Pima County Public Libraries,  Mexican Consulate, City of Tucson Council Member for Ward 1, and the Arizona Historical Society.
 
For Further Information
For more information about the LLR visit www.libros.arizona.edu or contact the LLR chair, Patricia Montiel Overall at overall@u.arizona.edu

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