India celebration on March 13th 2010

Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 12:21 pm | Updated: 12:25 pm, Wed Mar 10, 2010.

By Tess Nacelewicz | 1 comment

Shush! That’s the word many people associate with libraries.

But while they are quiet places to study and read, they also serve another function in today’s world, according to Rita Swidrowski, a library assistant in the children’s room at the Scarborough Public Library.

“Libraries have traditionally been thought of as very passive places, where you go in and get a book and you leave,” she said. But, Swidrowski said, modern libraries also play a different role in the community. “They’re a forum where you share community resources and culture.”

On Saturday, March 13, the Scarborough Public Library will be very much alive with culture – and color – as the library hosts a Celebrate India event with the aid of area families who immigrated from that country. The event is open to the public and designed for children and adults of all ages.

The sounds and sights of India will fill the building from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Participants will learn about Holi, the springtime Festival of Colors, and will get to hear a traditional Indian story, sample authentic Indian dishes, participate in sand and henna painting, watch dancing and drumming demonstrations, and view Indian costumes and artifacts.

The furniture will be pushed aside and the library will temporarily forgo its usual quiet atmosphere, said Celeste Shinay, the library’s manager of programming and development. “If you’re coming for a quiet time (at the library), just don’t come between 11 (a.m.) and 12:30 (p.m.),” she said.

The celebration is an expanded version of a new program the library began a few months ago to help children learn more about the increasingly diverse world in which they live.

The monthly series is called “Stories from Around the World,” a program started about five months ago by youth services librarian Travis Tschacher. In that program, children have been listening to stories from countries as diverse as Colombia and Poland, Swidrowski said. The children have also heard short presentations about those countries and their customs.

However, the library’s program on India is more in-depth. That’s because about 20 residents of Scarborough and neighboring communities who are originally from India volunteered to collaborate with the library to create the authentic celebration.


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