Celebrating our Diversity

Celebrating our Diversity

Several events at the Greenville Public Library have been held in an effort to celebrate our cultural diversity, but also the qualities which bind us together. The Heritage Committee was formed last October after the Library Board’s President Steve Cicilline proposed showcasing diverse heritages for the patrons and community members.

It was purposely tied to three of the Greenville Library’s Strategic Framework Six Primary Achievements, which include creating community partnerships, providing community services and resources, and increasing community awareness.

In March, there was an appearance from “The Watermelon Lady,” Miss Ramona, who shared her traditions of storytelling from her Jamaican and Native American ancestry, together with her formal education, to open up a treasury of healing and understanding for participants.

In April, Dr. Ed Iannuccilli gave a presentation about his Italian heritage. Iannuccilli, an accomplished writer, also donated 20 books related to his presentation. They included Growing up Italian: Grandfather’s Fig Tree and Other Stories and What Ever Happened to Sunday Dinner?

On May 5, Sharon Thompson from Val’s English Tea and Pie Shop educated participants about the history of tea, its etiquette, and how important afternoon tea has become in Britain’s culture.

Library Director Dorothy Swain said food has been a vital component of the presentations. Cookies were served for the Watermelon Lady event. Cannolis were served for the Iannuccilli presentation and scones were provided at the British Tea event.

So far, the feedback for the events has been very positive.

“We leave the surveys out that day, right on the chairs,” Swain noted. “We like it to be a family event.”

“We selected programs that would be geared to families,” said committee member Cathy Pleau. “That would showcase an array of heritage backgrounds. Our goal is we want to have an awareness, understanding and appreciation of the variety of heritages, their roots and also their traditions,” adding, “our hope is that participants will recognize the differences and the commonalities among all of the heritages.”

On September 8, there will be a Dragon Boat display for families. This will also include a Chinese-themed story hour and craft.

On October 19, there will be a Tomaquag Museum Corn Husk Doll Art Workshop. Participants will learn about this art form’s origin and significance in conjunction with this activity. Tomaquag will also exhibit books and artifacts in the Castle display case at the library during the month of September.


For more information, visit https://greenvillelibraryri.org.

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