Houston Public Library and the Instituto la Paz, a primary school in Mexico City, have cultivated an exciting partnership over the past year. In January of 2015, the school’s Director General Lic. Gerardo Gonzalez and Director of English, Neil Crawford, approached us to discuss getting library cards for all 800 students, faculty, and staff at this school. They wanted their students to have access to the databases available on the library website, resources otherwise unavailable to them in Mexico.
Within a month, the majority of the students and faculty had library cards and were exploring the resources available on HPL’s website. Students were using their cards to access e-books and e-audiobooks via Overdrive, improving their English and other language skills via Mango Languages, and doing research for school projects via a number of other databases on our website. As the students started using their cards at home as well, their parents also benefited from this partnership. They were excited to discover the many Spanish Language newspapers available to them through Press Display, newspapers they wouldn’t have access to without a library card.
To encourage their students to continue exploring these and other online resources, the school built a learning lab, equipped with over two dozen computers, so their students could spend time each week researching various topics on the computer and reading E-books.
In October 2015, I visited Instituto la Paz, while on a trip to Mexico City. The visit started with a tour of the school and unveiling a commemorative plaque celebrating the partnership between HPL and the Instituto la Paz. After meeting with the director and other staff to discuss how we could enhance their students’ learning experience, I closed the visit with a bilingual storytime for their second graders full of music and stories. It was a lot of fun and I look forward to visiting again in the future.
Written by Michelle Johnson, Central Library