By Rider Farris | Reporter
The Waco-McLennan County Library will host a storytelling event at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Central Library in honor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. The event was created to help celebrate and encourage diversity and will include various cultural groups from Waco.
Following story time led by volunteers from within the community, arts and crafts for children will begin. It is a family event designed for children ranging from toddlers to upper elementary, but everyone is welcome.
“We wanted to show that the library is not just cut-and-dry for a certain group,” said Angela Lightfoot, Children’s Associate at the Central Library. “It’s for everyone. I’m hoping it opens up the worldview to a lot of the kids.”
Multicultural Children’s Book Day is a national event that started in 2014. Lightfoot read about the event in 2017 and began planning this event for the people of Waco. The library has been trying to diversify its collection in anticipation for the event and has a multicultural book display up in the children’s section.
“With our goal to diversify our collection, this seemed like a really good fit because we’ve gotten in so many new books recently and there’s only so much we can do to hand them out to the kids,” Lightfoot said. “They need to see it. They need to hear it.”
Four groups from Baylor will make an appearance at the event, of which three are multicultural organizations and one is Greek. Individuals are also welcomed to volunteer to read, do crafts and interact with the kids.
Houston sophomore Gabriela Fierro, member of the Hispanic Student Association, has decided to volunteer at the event. She heard about the event on OrgSync and decided to contribute.
“Being from a Latino/Hispanic background, I’ve always seen the necessity of investing in children’s lives,” Fierro said. “I think it matters a lot for them to establish role models and to look up to people.”
Fierro will journey to the library Friday to choose the books she wants to read to the kids. Following her performance on Saturday, she will guide the kids through crafts and simply interact with the children. But, she says that this event is not just intended for children of a multicultural background.
“These events don’t have to be necessarily for people that are Hispanic or that are involved in multicultural organizations,” Fierro said. “It’s important for people that maybe come from places that aren’t very diverse to be involved in these things, because it is part of the real world.”
The event will showcase some new authors and new types of stories. All of the event’s featured books either have a minority or person of color as the main character, offer ideas or stories about another culture or enable the reader to open up his or her view of the world. All of the books will work to help expose children to other cultures.
“Every kid deserves to come to the library and see people that look like them in their books, and a lot of people don’t know about all these awesome books we have,” Lightfoot said. “We put out a lot of books and I hope that none of them are there when we leave because we have so many good stories that I want these kids to take away.”