In ‘itty-bitty Fairmont City’ library is heart of a fast-growing Latino community in Illinois

fairmontIt’s a common sight at the Fairmont City Library Center: Students discussing the grammar and syntax of English sentences in small groups.

On a recent night, the teacher wanted to know what another word for “per” is. The word got lost in translation. Some students suggested “for,” but in the sentence the teacher gave the correct answer is “each.” It was a confusing answer for one student who offered the Spanish word for “each” instead. It’s “cada.”

The class is just one of the night English language classes the library offers adult native Spanish speakers in the area who want to perfect their second language.

Fairmont City, less than 10 miles east of St. Louis, is the local community with the largest percentage of Latino residents. The total population of the village is about 2,500 people, according to the latest census records. Of those, more than 2,000 people about 80 percent are Latino, most tracing their roots to Mexico. That’s up from the 2010 census, which counted the Latinos as making up 55 percent of the village’s population. Check out the full story.

By Ashley Lisenby, St. Louis Public Radio

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