SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and, on a local level, the heritage and culture will be celebrated with a special event sponsored by the South Plainfield Public Library. 

The library’s Hispanic Heritage Month, planned Sept. 22 from 12 to 3 p.m. at the senior center, will feature a live dance performance along with a bit of history on the dance as well as a craft, salsa lesson, and free food donated by local restaurants. The event is free and open to the public; all ages are welcome. 

According to event organizer Jailene Betancourt, a part-time library assistant for children’s services at the South Plainfield Library, the main focus of the program is to ‘celebrate Hispanic arts, and cultures.’ 

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“My goal is to bring this program to South Plainfield to show our patrons a little bit about Hispanic culture. We are a diverse community and we should be able to celebrate and learn about our cultures,” Betancourt, who, over the years, has run a similar program at other libraries in the area, said. “I feel it is important because we should be exposed to more cultures…[and] I especially feel children should learn about the cultures that they are surrounded by,”

In addition to attending the Sept. 22 event, patrons interested in learning more about Spanish history and culture are encouraged to stop by the library throughout Hispanic Heritage Month. Along with fiction and non-fiction reading materials, cardholders access to online Spanish language programming through Pongalo (https://pongalo.com) as well as the opportunity to learn Spanish and/or Portugese through the Rosetta Stone online database. South Plainfield Library patrons can also download Latin music and videos through Freegal(https://southplainfield.freegalmusic.com/home) as well as download ebooks and audiobooks through eLibrary NJ(https://elibrarynj.overdrive.com). 

Residents are also encouraged to stop by the library before or after attending the Sept. 22 program for the Friends of the South Plainfield Library’s annual fall book and bake sale. During the book sale, which runs through Sept. 29, hard and soft copy books for all ages and reading levels, CDs and DVDs will be available for purchase; the bake sale will be held Sept. 22 only. Donations are still needed; books can be dropped at the circulation desk during regular business hours and those looking to contribute a homemade treat can register at the desk as well. 

“We hope the community will come out for out first Hispanic Heritage Month celebration and then head over to the library for the book and bake sale. All of the proceeds go to the Friends who work to benefit the library programs and services,” said Linda Hansen, director of the South Plainfield Library. 

“Special thanks to Jailene for organizing this cultural program and to the Friends of the Library for running the sale as well as to librarian Danielle Aronowitz for sorting and packing the donations as they come in,” added Hansen. “It is a big undertaking and there are months of prep involved. We are all very thankful to all those who support us.”

About Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month (according to https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org) begins each year on Sept. 15 – the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) – and concludes Oct. 15. Mexico, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza). The theme of Hispanic Heritage Month 2018, set by the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM), is ‘Hispanics: One Endless Voice to Enhance our Traditions;’ the goal of this theme is to reflect on Hispanic American’s tradition, history and culture. 

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