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'Amigos' welcome at libraries

January 06, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG -- For the past four months, Jocelyn Mojica has been taking her Spanish story time programs to the Washington County community libraries.

On Saturday, she will be at the Smithsburg Library at 10:45 a.m. and is hoping children of all ages -- English- and Spanish-speaking -- will attend.

"We call the program 'Hola, Amigos,'" Mojica said. That means "hello friends" in Spanish.

Mojica comes to Smithsburg's library every second Saturday. She reads stories in Spanish and English, and gears activities toward youngsters who attend, no matter what language they speak.

Boonsboro's new library on Md. 34 is the setting for "Hola, Amigos" on the first Saturday of every month. Mojica said she has been to Boonsboro about three times.

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"One family with three children attends the program in Boonsboro," Mojica said.

She hopes word will spread, but in the meantime is beefing up publicity through brochures and bookmarks located around the county.

The third Saturday of every month, Mojica journeys to the library in Williamsport for a 10:15 a.m. session of "Hola, Amigos."

The programs last about a half-hour.

"We created this with money from grants," Mojica said.

There was enough interest in exploring a Spanish-speaking library service to create Mojica's position as bilingual coordinator last August.

Mojica is of Puerto Rican descent and grew up in a bilingual family.

"I spoke both languages from an early age," she said.

The 2002 graduate of Williamsport High School went to Hagerstown Community College and transferred to Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va., where she is working on her undergraduate degree in psychology.

In her library position, Mojica is responsible for ordering children's books and DVDs in Spanish.

Mojica works Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. She said one of her goals is for those who speak Spanish to feel comfortable coming to the library and for them not to be forced to speak English.

In addition to the library's new Spanish offerings, Mojica said there's an Internet link on the library's computers to Spanish newspapers from a number of Spanish-speaking countries.

For more information, call Mojica at 301-739-3250, ext. 190.

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