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Tulsa's Hispanic Population On The Rise

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Tulsa's Hispanic population is on a growing spurt and has been for the last few years. It's estimated there are some 50,000 Hispanics living in the area which is double the number 10 years ago. The Tulsa Library is making an effort to overcome the language barrier through books. Julian Rodriguez is a member of the city and county-sponsored Hispanic Commission. He says he's watched the Hispanic population grow by the thousands in the past five years. Rodriguez says he is trying to help Hispanics absorb into the community. "We have a lot of people who don't understand the language, what I call first comers," says Rodriguez. The Tulsa Library is trying to make the Spanish-speaking newcomers feel welcome, too. "We've started ordering books, we've started making a plan to change the floor plan here at this library to accommodate a larger collection of Spanish language materials," says library spokesman Richard Parker. The library has been awarded a $150,000 grant to buy Spanish books and videos for its Martin East branch. "We thought the Hispanic community was growing so rapidly in Tulsa that this was just a natural follow so we started talking about it," says Parker. The library has budgeted for two bilingual part-time workers to help Spanish patrons. Right now, the collection of Spanish books is small, but that is supposed to change soon. Officials says they plan to raise money to build the collection even bigger. The library has until next July to spend the $150,000 grant.
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