Libraries, organizations commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month as part of ‘Latino Americans: 500 Years of History’ project

For Immediate Release
Tue, 09/15/2015


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office


For inquiries or an interview with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), contact Theola DeBose, NEH's director of communications, at or 202-606-8255.

CHICAGO — More than 150 libraries, museums and other nonprofit organizations across the country will commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month with celebrations, exhibitions, film screenings and other public events as part of Latino Americans: 500 Years of History, a public programming initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and American Library Association (ALA).

More than 470 public programs will be held between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15. Below is a sampling of events. (View a full list of Latino Americans-affiliated events.)

  • The Delaware County District Library (Delaware, Ohio) will host “Cuentame Mas: Hispanic Heritage Folktales,” in which storyteller Lindsay Bonilla will share imaginative, interactive, educational adventures featuring folktales from the Spanish-speaking world. (Tuesday, Sept. 15, 6:30 p.m., Delaware Main Library, 84 E. Winter St.)
  • Houston Public Library (Houston, Texas) will host “Remembering World War II: Houston’s Latino Veterans,” an exhibit of archival documents, photographs and oral histories. (Exhibit dates: Aug. 29 to Nov. 14, Julia Ideson Building, 550 McKinney St. Opening reception: Thursday, Sept. 17, 6 p.m.)
  • Bakersfield College (Bakersfield, California) will host a virtual tour, “Sacred Places: History, Preservation and the Farm Labor Movement.” As part of a three-day series of events, Gonzago University Lecturer Raymond Rast will offer a presentation on historic sites associated with the farm labor movement. (Thursday, Sept. 24, 3 p.m., Bakersfield College Levan Center for the Humanities, 1801 Panorama Dr.)
  • The North Carolina Museum of History (Raleigh, North Carolina) will host “Early Spanish Explorers,” a children’s program about North Carolina’s first European settlers — the Spanish. (Wednesday, Oct. 7, 11:15 a.m., 5 East Edenton St.)
  • The Queens Museum (Queens, N.Y.) will host “Young Lords in El Barrio: A Walking Tour,” in which participants will visit East Harlem sites where the Young Lords Puerto Rican nationalist group was active, as well as iconic murals, local businesses, community gardens and cultural institutions. (Saturday, Oct. 10, 5 p.m., El Museo del Barrio, 1230 5th Ave.)

In June, NEH and ALA distributed more than $1 million in programming grants to 203 libraries, museums and other nonprofit organizations as part of the Latino Americans project. Over a one-year grant period, the grantees will offer a series of film screenings and other public programming in their communities to foster a public exploration of the rich and varied experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries and who have become, with more than 50 million people, the country’s largest minority group.

The cornerstone of the project is the six-part, NEH-supported documentary film, “Latino Americans,” created for PBS in 2013 by the WETA public television station. The Peabody Award-winning series chronicles Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day. (Learn more about the series here.)

Latino Americans: 500 Years of History is part of an NEH initiative, The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, which is designed to demonstrate the critical role humanities scholarship can play in our public life.

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of Latino Americans to the United States. The observation — which begins on Sept. 15 to commemorate the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua — started as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 and expanded in 1988 to cover a 30-day period.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Celebrating its 50th anniversary as an independent federal agency in 2015, National Endowment for the Humanities brings the best in humanities research, public programs, education, and preservation projects to the American people. To date, NEH has awarded $5 billion in grants to build the nation’s cultural capital — at museums, libraries, colleges and universities, archives, and historical societies—and advance our understanding and appreciation of history, literature, philosophy, and language. Learn more at

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

About ALA’s Public Programs Office

ALA’s Public Programs Office provides leadership, resources, training and networking opportunities that help thousands of librarians nationwide develop and host cultural programs for adult, young adult and family audiences. The mission of the ALA Public Programs Office is to promote cultural programming as an essential part of library service in all types of libraries. Projects include book and film discussion series, literary and cultural programs featuring authors and artists, professional development opportunities and traveling exhibitions. School, public, academic and special libraries nationwide benefit from the office’s programming initiatives.