The Importance of Miami’s Hispanic Branch Library
Image courtesy of Nuestro Stories.
It would be impossible to deny the powerful cultural influence that the Spanish-speaking community has made on the state of Florida, especially the Miami-Dade county area.
With more than 2 million people speaking Spanish, Florida is one of the top five states in the country with a Spanish-speaking population. This is why the Hispanic Branch Library, or Rama Hispanica as it is better known, has been so crucial to the community.
The original Hispanic Branch Library opened on August 2nd, 1976, in the center of the area known as Little Havana. The building, library, and area became a cornerstone for the growing community, especially Cubanos who had made their way to the states during the 1950s and 60s.
To ensure that Spanish-speaking residents could connect to their roots, the Rama Hispanica’s shelves were filled with literature, periodicals, and a variety of learning resources that were all written and presented in Spanish.
Along with access to knowledge, the Hispanic Branch Library also acts as a community resource center, where residents of the area can come to get assistance with applying for city, state, and federal programs.
On top of that, there is an art gallery located in the space, highlighting local artists and talents from around the area. For children who may not be able to get to the library, La Rama also works through community outreach and public school programs to bring story time and book fairs to even more locals in the area.
While it may seem that libraries are more of an old-fashioned notion from a time long past, the importance of La Rama is in more than its ability to offer services to the community; it is about providing a space to maintain a cultural connection to an ancestral home and finding representation of yourself and your people in the annals of history.
Originally located on West Flagler St in the 70s, the need for the library branch to expand its space and capabilities caused the library to move to a brand new 12000 sq foot facility now located at 1398 SW 1st St.
Location: Miami, Fl, United States.
Address: 1398 SW 1st St #100, Miami, FL 33135, United States.
Visit the library here.
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Olivia Monahan Chicana journalist, editor, educator, and organizer in Sacramento whose sole focus is to shed light on stories on our most impacted and marginalized communities, but even more importantly, for those stories to humanize those normally left out. She is an Ida B Wells Investigative Journalism Fellow 2022 Finalist, a member of the Parenting Journalists Society, and has bylines in The Courier, The Sacramento Bee, The Americano, Submerge Magazine among others.