For immediate release | September 20, 2011

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month @ your library

CHICAGO – Libraries have long reflected the communities they serve. Responding to the fastest growing population in the United States, libraries across the country work to meet the need of their Latino populations.

Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 marks National Hispanic Heritage Month, which celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept.18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30 day period.

This year, National Hispanic Heritage Month will celebrate with the theme, “Many Backgrounds, Many Stories…One American Spirit.” Here are just a few examples of what libraries are doing to celebrate these stories.

In honor of the diverse cultures that comprise Harris County, Texas, the Harris County Public Library and its branches will host a variety of programs and activities under the umbrella of Hispanic Heritage Month @ your library. The library hopes to educate, inform and entertain the area residents about the contributions of Hispanics to the cultural and economic life of our nation. Programming includes bilingual story times for children, discussion of the Mexican Revolution and Muralist Movement for teens and tweens and exhibitions of Latino art, music, food and dance.

The Alachua County Library District of Gainesville, Fla. celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month @ your library. Throughout the month the library will host its seventh annual Latino/Hispanic Film Festival in partnership with the Latina Women’s League. Additional programs will including an exhibition of Bolivian Folk Art, as well as Cuentos Latinoamericanos a celebration of bilingual stories, songs and dance to teach children about Hispanic/Latino culture.

Library users in Tampa, Fla. will celebrate their Hispanic heritage in the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative’s annual Hispanic Heritage @ your library art and poetry contests. Through Sept. 30 students in kindergarten through fifth grade may enter the “Our Hispanic Heritage” bookmark contest, while older students can participate in the poster contest and for adults there is the poetry contest. Winners will receive prizes including U.S. savings bonds, bookstore gift certificates and cash prizes, as well as having their contributions professionally printed.

Looking to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month @ your library? Visit to download the Campaign for America’s Libraries’ @ your library or en tu biblioteca logos.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries ( is ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations.


Megan McFarlane