Norfolk public libraries kick off Hispanic Heritage Month

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Norfolk's Larchmont Branch Library. (Photo Courtesy Norfolk Public Library)

Norfolk’s Larchmont Branch Library. (Photo Courtesy Norfolk Public Library)

Thursday marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, and Norfolk Public Library’s Larchmont Branch kicked it off by screening “Selena,” a 1997 film about the life and career of the late Tejano music singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez.

Norfolk’s libraries have been celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month for at least 14 years, according to Carol Aubut, a youth associate I for the Van Wyck Branch, 1368 DeBree Ave. Throughout the four-week observances, Norfolk Public Library is hosting close to 20 events honoring the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile, according to its website. In addition, two branches have shaped programming around movies, books, food and cultural activities.

Van Wyck, for example, will offer crafts and discussions about holidays, religions and cultural traditions, such as the use of flowers in celebrations.

“I think it’s important to just get a glimmer,” Aubut said. “It’s a teaching moment where you can help them understand what some of the traditions are and how they arrived.”

Van Wyck will also host American Girl book nights on Sept. 20, Sept. 27, Oct. 4 and Oct. 11 from 5-6 p.m. The programs will include a craft, a snack and a reading session of the book featuring Josefina Montoya, a historical character in the American Girl series. Her story represents the history of New Mexico and the life of a young girl living on a ranch near Santa Fe during the era of Mexican Rule.

Larchmont, located at 6525 Hampton Blvd., is incorporating film into its programming, which began with “Selena.” The branch will air a biographical movie on Cesar Chavez, the civil and labor rights activist, on Sept. 22 from 2-4 p.m. And it will present “Stand and Deliver,” a 1988 film about Jamie Escalante, a high school teacher in Los Angeles, on Sept. 29 from 3-5 p.m.

L’tasha Shields, a library associate at Larchmont who helped organize the events, said she enjoys the sharing of culture, but also enjoys learning new things herself.

“For me personally, I like to celebrate different cultures because I like to learn about different cultures – I love to see how different cultures express themselves,” Shields said.

A full list of Hispanic Heritage Month events at Norfolk Public Library can be found here.

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