Our History

In 1975 the first meeting of BPLG was attended by individuals from different library systems that served the Spanish-speaking community in Northern California; including Debbie Cornue (San Francisco Public Library), Miguel Alaniz (Spanish Services Project), Yolanda Cuesta (California State Library), Ed Cavellini (Santa Clara County Library), Francisco Pinelli (San Francisco Public Library), and Bill Ramirez (Head of San Francisco Public Library). Those in attendance formed a support group to continue the exchange of information.

In the beginning, their charge was to present training workshops and issue occasional collection development bibliographies — something that was desperately needed in the time before the Internet and other technological advances. Soon, the group added raising awareness among library administrators about regular library services to Spanish-speakers and issuing Guidelines for Spanish Services that was sent to every library director in California. Newsletters from the 1980's reflect information sharing and included collection development suggestions, storytime resources, and articles regarding Latino interest. Later activities included printing publications and supporting libraries outside the United States such as the library in Oaxaca.

On June 29, 1981 at ALA, BPLG sponsored a tour of Spanish language collections and visited the Alameda County Library, San Jose Public Library's Biblioteca Latinoamericana, UC Berkeley's Chicano Studies Library, and Oakland Public Library's Latin American Library. On December 4, 1983, BPLG and REFORMA co-sponsored a dinner with Edward James Olmos as Keynote Speaker at CLA. BPLG celebrated their 10th Anniversary Dinner on November 16, 1985 at 7:30 p.m. at the California Wok Restaurant in Oakland during the annual CLA Conference. On February 25, 1995, BPLG celebrated their 20th Anniversary with a conference (Alma, Vida, y Corazon: Empowering the Latino Community Through Our Libraries - A Conference at the University of California at Berkeley's Dwinelle Hall) over a year before REFORMA held RNCI in August 1996.

Founded independently in 1975, on July 29, 1977 at a meeting at San Francisco's Mission Library, it was moved, seconded, and passed that BPLG affiliate with CLA. The Resolution was passed by CLA Council on April 27, 1979. On November 13, 1988, BPLG and REFORMA had their first joint meeting at CLA. In the early 1990's, BPLG became a chapter of REFORMA.