Student Natalia Tabisaura Prepares to Serve Spanish-Speaking Patrons

Community Profile

Student Natalia Tabisaura enrolled in our school’s new Spanish language class in fall 2011 to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking library patrons.

“I really like studying languages, and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to include language with my MLIS coursework and to improve my Spanish for work,” said Tabisaura, who frequently encounters Spanish-speaking patrons in her job at the children’s Rainbow Library in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Tabisaura and her SPAN 132 classmates are all students in our school’s MLIS program. Their instructor is a faculty member with the SJSU Department of World Languages and Literatures. They are learning Spanish vocabulary that will help them communicate more effectively in library settings. The course covers library terminology as well as vocabulary for common reference topics like health, immigration, banking, housing, and employment. Students also learn how to locate and use Spanish reference and research sources.

“We’ve learned how to say due date, fecha de vencimiento, and how to tell people to bring back books, devolver,” Tabisaura said.

The course is designed for beginners, though more advanced Spanish speakers can benefit from the library-specific dialogues and vocabulary lessons. Tabisaura previously studied beginning Spanish and is also familiar with Tagalog, a Philippine language that shares many nouns with Spanish. (The word for book, libro, is the same in both languages). “I’m still learning a lot, even though I’ve taken Spanish before,” she said.

The course is a partnership between San José State University School of Information and the SJSU Department of World Languages and Literatures. It was developed specifically for library and information science graduate students and meets several competencies for the MLIS degree. A similar course in French is also offered.

As our school’s MLIS program is 100% online, language instruction takes place in mandatory live Elluminate web conference meetings, weekly recorded lectures, and written workbook assignments. Students also submit recorded oral assignments to receive feedback on their pronunciation.

Tabisaura hopes to use her new language skills in her work at the Rainbow Library. In addition to providing bilingual service at the reference and circulation desks, she also plans to bring more Spanish vocabulary into her story times and teen programming. “I already incorporate Spanish vocabulary with music, but with the class knowledge I hope to elaborate and create more in-depth language activities for the kids and teens,” she said.

Tabisaura enrolled at the iSchool in fall 2010 and is following the Youth Librarianship and Digital Services and Emerging Technologies career pathways. She’s excited to combine her creative talents for web design and her enthusiasm for children’s literature to serve library patrons. Tabisaura plans to graduate in spring 2013.