The Foreign Language Collection is housed on the first floor of the Burton Barr Central Library. The collection encompasses books, magazines, newspapers, audiocassettes and DVDs for adults. The holdings for books in Spanish are approximately 15,000 volumes, while the rest of the collection contains 14,000 volumes written in 20 other languages, including Chinese, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian and Vietnamese. In general, with the exception of Spanish language, only fiction and titles with popular appeal are collected. The resources in Spanish are more comprehensive, with materials for reference, fiction, biography and nonfiction covering the full Dewey Decimal range, as well as audiocassettes, Latin music, compact discs and videocassettes without English subtitles. The DVD titles consist of mostly how-to, classic films from the Mexican "Golden Age of Cinema", and feature films from Spain and Latin America.
The Foreign Language Collection also has subscriptions to 43 magazines and three newspapers. Magazines can be checked out with a valid library card, but newspapers do not circulate. Back issues of magazines are retained for six months and newspapers for the current week only.
ESL (English as a Second Language)
ESL is also an integral part of the Foreign Language Collection. Materials consisting of books, audiocassettes and videocassettes are provided for library users of all nationalities who have limited or no English proficiency and wish to improve their English speaking and comprehension skills. These ESL and basic adult learning resources are geared toward independent self-study on grammar, reading, writing, listening, pronunciation, survival English, pre-GED, TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and pre-vocational skills.
The library has staff members with different language abilities to assist library users in finding materials in the system. Reference service is provided in the building and over the telephone. Titles not available in the library system can be searched and borrowed from elsewhere in the United States through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
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