Diversity is one of Somerset County’s “greatest assets.” According to 2019 U.S. Census data, 15 percent of Somerset County’s diverse population is of Hispanic or Latino descent. In celebration of, and in order to embrace “the uniqueness of each individual,” the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) will be hosting both virtual and in-branch programs as well as presenting arts-based and informational exhibits in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
“SCLSNJ has long recognized the importance that our diverse community members contribute to the County’s social and cultural fabric,” said Catherine DeBerry, interim branch manager. “We believe that it is more important than ever to celebrate the diversity that our community members contribute to the enrichment of our lives.”
On Tuesdays from September 15 – October 13 the North Plainfield branch, located at 6 Rockview Avenue in North Plainfield, will host digitization days where SCLSNJ staff members will collect, catalog, and preserve the Hispanic heritage of Somerset County residents.
“As part of our Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, SCLSNJ is excited to host digitization days at our North Plainfield branch,” said Elizabete Pata, adult services supervisor, “During the events our staff will utilize a suite of digitization equipment to capture the heirlooms and memories of our Hispanic customers. We are thrilled to be able to provide our customers with the opportunity to both preserve and learn about their own history and that of their neighbors.”
SCLSNJ will make these collective memories available for research and use for future generations by contributing digitized items to Rutgers University’s New Jersey Digital Highway, by making them available in the Library’s catalog, and by submitting them to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).
Discover digitization days:
Digitizing Somerset County’s Hispanic Heritage – In Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month
- September 15, 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4403571.
- September 22, 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4403572.
- September 29, 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4403573.
- October 6, 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4403574.
- October 13, 10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4403575.
The Somerset County Library System of New Jersey Common Heritage initiative has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these Library programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
In addition to the digitization days, the Library System will host a plethora of virtual and in-branch programs for customers of all ages. Attendees will have the opportunity to dance and sing during concerts; discover how to create Hispanic cuisine; explore art; and more during both virtual and socially distanced outdoor programs.
“SCLSNJ welcomes families to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Karen Telesco, system program coordinator, youth services. “We’re excited to be able to connect with the community by offering two special outdoor performances presented by Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre, held at our Manville and Warren Twp. branches. Families will also have the chance to connect from the comfort of their homes, thanks to a virtual performance by Mexico Beyond Mariachi.”
“We are proud to continue the tradition of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in ways that enliven and enrich all of our communities,” said Darryl Voorhees, manager of adult services programming and collaborations, public services. “Discover a live outdoor performance of Columbian folk music; tune in to our YouTube channel to explore traditional Afro-Cuban/Afro-Latin music; or follow along online as a renowned chef reveals the secrets of making Paella. The month in which we honor these historic and cultural contributions promises to be both festive and educational.”
Discover in-branch programs:
Outdoor Program: Celebration of Dance (families)
- September 12, 1-2 p.m. at the Manville branch, located at 100 South 10th Avenue in Manville. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4498619.
- October 3, 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the Warren Twp. branch, located at 42 Mountain Boulevard in Warren Twp. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4489592.
Outdoor Concert: Viva Vallenato Cumbia Band
- September 26, 2-3 p.m. at the Mary Jacobs branch, located at 64 Washington Street in Rocky Hill. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4033218.
For outdoor, in-branch programs: Library customers will only need to register one person for an entire family. Registered families will be assigned a marked off area that can accommodate up to five (5) people. Attendees can bring their own chairs; folding chairs can be provided if necessary.
Please note the following: registration is required; masks will need to be worn outside; food will not be permitted, water only; the event(s) may be canceled if there is inclement weather within 24 hours of the event. For questions or more information about these programs, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect with virtual programs:
English-Spanish Bilingual Storytime (ages 3-7 years and parents/caregivers):
- September 14, 5:30-6 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4278526.
- October 21, 5:30-6 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4493895.
Family Storytime – Bilingual Storytime (families with children)
- September 19, 1-1:30 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4300746.
- October 13, 7-7:30 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4489973.
Explore Art – Hispanic Heritage Month (grades 1-5)
- Costa Rican Oxcart: September 22, 3:45-4:45 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4503691.
- Letters of La Palma: October 13, 3:45-4:45 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4503712.
Cooking With Kir – Paella and Sangria (adults)
- September 23, 7-8 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4474586.
Virtual Family Night – World Games (families with children)
- September 28, 6-7 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4486711.
Andrew Bambridge with the Rutgers Afro-Cuban Ensemble (all ages)
- October 2, 6-7 p.m. This program was made possible by funds from the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey Historical Commission. For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4481062.
Trekking Through Mexico (families)
- October 5, 7-7:45 p.m. Register now: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4478507.
In addition to programs, the Bound Brook and Manville branches will host month-long displays highlighting art, recipes, and geography.
At the Manville branch, Library customers can explore the between art and quarantine challenge, discover cultural infographics, and/or connect with traditional Hispanic recipes from September 15 – October 15. At the Bound Brook branch, local artist Isabell Villacis will share her works from October 1-31. Villacis’, who was born with cerebral palsy, works include acrylic paintings, sculptures, photos, and more.
Connect with month-long displays:
The Manville branch, located at 100 South 10th Avenue in Manville.
September 15 – October 15
- Entre el Arte y el Desafío de Cuarentena – Between Art and Quarantine Challenge: For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4504054.
- Cultural Infographics: For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4504013.
- Traditional Hispanic Food Recipe Cards: For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4504015.
The Bound Brook branch, located at 402 East High Street in Bound Brook.
- Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month – The Artwork of Isabell Villacis: October 1-31. For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4517920.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage everyday with your Library: SCLSNJ.org.