The Function of Libraries for Latino College Students
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Considered a great tool of democracy, libraries are open to all who choose to use them, regardless of race, gender, or creed. Therein lies both the greatest strength and weakness of libraries: because libraries provide resources chosen by librarians for patron use, libraries unwittingly “deny access to their resources to certain social classes.” In diverse communities, libraries are often limited as to the extent to which they are able to deal with varied, and sometimes unknown, information needs. All of this leads to the questions of who is well served by libraries and who is left behind. Latinos are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States, but the desperately small number of Latino librarians cannot provide cultural reinforcement for the large number of Latino patrons. To best serve this population, libraries must seek out Latinos’ feedback on the services libraries provide. Two questions are explored in this project: How do Latinos perceive libraries as an institution? How does library philosophy influence Latinos’ perceptions?