2019 Noche de Cuentos Mini-Grants Report: Garfield County Libraries - Glenwood Springs Branch

Noches de Cuentos

Noches de Cuentos was one of the most amazing programs we have had at the Glenwood Springs Branch Library period, not just the Spanish language programs we've held. Over 75 individuals came to hear the powerful life stories of their neighbors, meet with their community, and, if they were kids, enjoy a pajama party. 

The most amazing part was how it all came together. The first step was to reach out to an organization that our New Castle Branch has already partnered with, Garfield County Public Health. Brisa Chaves, the Hispanic Engagement Coordinator, talked over my ideas with me and helped hammer out the details of the grant before submitting it. Considering our financial difficulties from late 2016 to the end of 2019, the grant was a necessary part of our ability to make this the event our hispanic community deserved.

Through Brisa and her coworker Dana Woods a local civic organization that engages and supports the local Hispanic/Latinx community, Soy Latina, got on board and the rubber hit the road. We immediately had the Master of Ceremonies on board, Iliana Renteria, a staple in our community who works with local literacy organizations and teaches Mental Health First Aid in Spanish. Thankfully she was able to attend our meetings and bring her storytelling expertise to the planning process. The people who participated came from all across the county, not just Glenwood Springs. They came even as far as Parachute (45 minutes away) to help make this program a success, which was great as my goal was to be a support system to these amazing women who knew what the Hispanic/Latinx community needed.

The final program looked like this. The group chose 5 presenters to tell their life story, chosen in part by the impact they've made on their community and their storytelling abilities. Iliana met with every one to help them craft their story and practice it in the room the event would take place in. For their participation they received a $20 gift card to City Market and a certificate I created thanking them for participating.

Food was a must and a local tamale maker was hired to make the main dish. A local business donated chips and salsa while members of the team made delicious desserts and drinks to round out the spread. Not surprisingly there were no leftovers at the end of the evening.

Decorations were purchased and put up to create a festive and welcoming environment while a raffle for City Market gift cards helped bring people in.

Because we wanted everyone to feel welcome child care was provided in the form of a pajama party. Kids came in their pajamas to eat popcorn and watch Coco on the big screen. This was the role I took on as the non-Spanish speaker and let's just say that I learned what to do differently next time. It admittedly never occurred to me that some kids would be too wound up to watch the movie but of course there were these kids there. Can you tell I'm an adult services librarian and not a children's librarian?

As I stated the event was a success. The storytellers were engaging and had such amazing stories to tell. The audience was attentive the entire time and at the very end when the final performers brought out their instruments and played traditional Mexican folk songs everyone sang along. It was magical.

Thank you to REFORMA for making this event possible. I'm so proud that we were able to provide this program to our Hispanic/Latinx community and the connections that I made with the wonderful women who took this on.

- Laurin Arnold, Branch Manager