From the earliest days of recorded history, Texas, particularly the area along the Gulf Coast, has had a strong Hispanic presence. The deciding battle for the Texas war of independence from Mexico occurred in 1836, and the Battle of San Jacinto took place in neighboring LaPorte, TX. There, the small force of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexican army under General Santa Anna. The site of the capture of General Santa Anna, who was also President of Mexico, actually took place in Pasadena a few days after the Battle of San Jacinto.
Many of the details of the Battle of San Jacinto and Santa Anna’s capture were detailed in memoirs written by José María Salomé Rodriquez shortly before his death on February 22, 1913. J. M. Rodriquez was born in San Antonio on October 29, 1829 and was the son of Texan patriot Ambrosio Rodriquez. Ambrosio was a close friend of Sam Houston and fought with Houston at San Jacinto. J. M. Rodriquez was judge of Webb County for 35 years.
Today, Pasadena is home to many families who are of historic Texan and Hispanic lineage. Some of these families have lived here for generations, and some are recent arrivals from Spanish-speaking countries. That’s why, to ensure that the Spanish speaking residents of Pasadena and those who are learning Spanish in school can find books and other materials of interest in Spanish and can continue to pass on their knowledge of their Hispanic heritage to their children, the library has been aggressively increasing its Spanish collections.
This year, I am pleased to say that the Pasadena Libraries have over 5,200 adult books and almost 3,500 children’s books written in Spanish. These books, along with some movies as well, have been acquired from the best Spanish-language publishing houses in Spain and Latin America. These materials are very popular, and it shows in the large circulation numbers they produce.
As is the case with all of our materials, these items have been selected by trained librarians who purchase library materials for the needs and interests of our community of readers. We will continue to purchase Spanish language materials and hope that the Spanish speaking residents and those who are just learning Spanish in school or through their families will find these materials a rich source of information and enjoyment. Please let us know of any special subjects or authors that you enjoy reading in Spanish. We are always pleased to take suggestions on materials in any language from our reading public.
Even if you do not read Spanish, please come and take a look at our Spanish collections and featured book display. You may be surprised at the lovely and innovative ways in which they display their stories – so different, and yet so familiar to English readers.
Director, Pasadena Public Libraries