Peninsula libraries celebrating Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month

The North Olympic Library System (NOLS) is honoring Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month with a poster exhibition, an author visit for students and a community outreach event.

Three NOLS branches will display an educational poster set based on the bilingual Smithsonian traveling exhibition “Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964.” The six-poster set examines the largest Mexican guest worker program in U.S History.

The posters are on view through Sept. 29 at the Forks Library, Oct. 1-13 at the Port Angeles Library, and Oct. 17-31 at the Clallam Bay Branch Library.

Braceros were guest laborers brought to the United States during and after World War II to work on short-term labor contracts. Facing labor shortages on the home front during World War II, the United States initiated a series of agreements with Mexico to recruit Mexican men to work on American farms and railroads.

The Emergency Farm Labor Program, more familiarly known as the Bracero Program, enabled approximately two million Mexicans to enter the United States and work on short-term labor contracts.

Photo by Leonard Nadel/courtesy of North Olympic Library System / An educational poster set at NOLS locations, September-October, is based on the bilingual Smithsonian traveling exhibition, “Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964,” and features photographs by Leonard Nadel.

While the work was often grueling, the program offered Mexican men economic opportunity. The contributions made by these laborers have had significant impact on the political, economic and social climate of both the United States and Mexico, event organizers say.

The Forks Library is hosting acclaimed Washington-based author Donna Barba Higuera for a visit with students from the Quileute Tribal School, and the Cape Flattery and Quilayute Valley school districts on Oct. 7 to discuss her book “Lupe Wong Won’t Dance,” available in Spanish as “Lupe Wong No Baila.”

Students will gather at the Quillayute Valley School District campus for a series of presentations including a session for English language learners in middle and high school, a general session for all seventh-graders, and a writers’ workshop for a smaller group. (Note: This event is for students and is not open to the general public.)

Submitted art

Submitted art

Higuera’s books “Lupe Wong Won’t Dance,” “El Cucuy Is Scared, Too!” and “The Last Cuentista” are available for checkout through NOLS. The books have won awards including the Newbery medal, both Pura Belpré medal and honor, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA) best book of the year award, and the Sid Fleischman award for best children’s humor book of the year.

Library staff will be participating in a community celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month from 3-7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Peninsula College’s Forks campus. Everyone is invited to attend this free event that will expand cultural awareness and build connections.

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15-Oct. 15. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The day of Sept. 15 is significant, library representatives said, 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.

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. For more information, including exhibition descriptions and tour schedules, visit

For more information about this and other library events and services, visit, call 360-417-8500 or email to