WRITING FROM THE BORDERLINES: Online Resource for Libraries to Create and Promote Collections by Latinx Authors
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AuthorReed, Julia Guerrero
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AbstractAs of July 1, 2018, the “Hispanic” or “Latino” population of the United States was 18.3 percent of the total United States population, making them the most numerous, officially-recognized ethnic or racial minority in the country. Although the terms Hispanic and Latino are used interchangeably by the United States Census Bureau, they do not refer to the same populations. Hispanic means anyone with Spanish European ancestry, which includes all of the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America as well as Spain. It does not include Brazil (where Portuguese is spoken) or other territories that were successfully colonized by France, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. Also, Latin America has a long and painful history of Iberian colonialism, and there are large indigenous communities in Latin America with little or no Spanish or Portuguese DNA that would not be considered, nor would they want to be considered, anything other than indigenous. Latino/a is shorthand for latinoamericano and in the United States, refers to anyone living in this country who has ancestry from a Spanish, Portuguese, or French speaking Latin American country. This term therefore excludes persons from areas colonized by the British and Dutch, as well as persons from romance language speaking European countries. The term “Latinx” recently has gained popularity as a gender-neutral way to refer to this Latino/a population. Although Latinx people comprise 18.3 percent of the United States population, they comprise only 6 percent of the persons employed or otherwise engaged in the United States publishing industry. This means that Latinx writers are under-represented in the United States publishing industry and in the number of books that are published. As agents of social change and points of information access, librarians are well-positioned to change this situation by supporting and promoting Latinx authors. The purpose of the accompanying website. (www.writingfromtheborderlines.com) is to provide a guide for libraries wishing to create, increase, or promote collections by Latinx authors. The website has five sections. The first section is an explanation of the term “Latinx”. The second section is a list of Latinx authors organized by the audiences for whom they write. The third section describes grassroots campaigns to increase diversity in literature. The fourth section has an infographic and explanatory text demonstrating the population and publishing industry data. Finally, the fifth section offers ideas on how libraries can promote their diverse collections.