Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at the Library
Discover vibrant Hispanic culture and traditions through your library’s programs and resources.
This September 15th marks the beginning of another Hispanic Heritage Month and the many celebrations of history and culture that come with it. As a pillar of the community, celebrating the unique background of its visitors is one of the library’s many duties, and these libraries take that duty very seriously. So, what exactly is the history behind Hispanic Heritage Month, and how do libraries across the nation choose to celebrate it?
The History of Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month was originally only Hispanic Heritage Week, which was first recognized as a holiday under Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential administration in 1968. Twenty years later, in 1988, the Reagan administration made it a month-long celebration ranging from September 15th to October 15th.
September 15th is a significant date to many Hispanic nations and cultures, as it’s the shared independence day of five Hispanic nations, with several others in close proximity. Thus, it’s a month spent celebrating the uniqueness of Hispanic culture and remembering the struggles of those who fought to preserve it. Whether you’re Hispanic or not, you can still join in the celebration at your local library. Here’s how.
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Read about Hispanic History
History lies at the heart of this month’s celebrations, so it’s important to understand that history, regardless of your personal heritage. For the duration of Hispanic Heritage Month, many libraries will set up a special section full of books from prominent Hispanic authors, with some detailing the history of Hispanic nations and the evolution of their cultures and others displaying the mastery and uniqueness of Hispanic creative writers. Whatever the contents, however, it’s well worth taking a look at as you’re visiting the library over the course of the next month.
Attend Bilingual Storytimes with Your Family
As libraries aim to provide an age-inclusive experience for Hispanic Heritage Month, many have elected to host bilingual storytimes that families can attend. While these storytimes are generally held in either English or Spanish as the primary language, efforts are made throughout to educate the audience on the other language and its mechanics, giving children a basic framework for how the language is spoken upon which fluency can be built.
Some libraries, however, may take a different approach that places much more emphasis on developing language skills. The Austin Public Library, for example, hosts storytimes that are conducted without any particular emphasis on either language, presenting families with materials in both languages to allow both English and Spanish speakers to learn something new by the end of the day.
The Madison Public Library, on the other hand, covers not only Spanish stories but songs as well, giving visitors a greater insight into Spanish-speaking music and culture. No matter the approach your local library takes, bilingual storytimes are an invaluable learning experience for any child.
Learn about Issues Hispanic Populations Face
Of course, many Hispanic populations still face a number of challenges to this day, and it’s just as important to be informed about these challenges as it is about past achievements. By reading up on these issues, you can grow to better understand them, their root causes, and how they’re perpetuated, allowing you to take a more active role as an ally and an agent for change.
Of course, libraries celebrate far more than Hispanic culture. The library’s goal is to provide an abundance of knowledge to anyone willing to look, and it celebrates the populations who find success in doing so. If you’d like to know more about the cultures that libraries celebrate, their wider role in American society, and how you can help them fulfill that role, visit our site at EveryLibrary today!
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