Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Library Presents Hispanic Heritage Programming

BISBEE, AZ – National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from mid-September to mid-October, and the Copper Queen Library will present a free series of book discussions, films, and lectures in celebration. The Arizona Humanities Council, the Friends of the Copper Queen Library, and the City of Bisbee are program co-sponsors.

Arizona Humanities Council scholars will lead book discussions and speak on topics related to Hispanic heritage, and Monday night’s “Did You Know? ...” documentary films will also feature films to complement this series. The first three programs offer two book discussions and one presentation by Arizona Humanities Council scholars. To lead off, on September 12 at 6:30 pm, AHC Scholar Dr. John Doty will facilitate discussion of Cuentos Chicanos: A Short Story Anthology.

Cuentos is a collection of 21 short stories by both new and established Mexican-American twentieth-century writers reflecting the phenomenal growth of Chicano literature over the past two decades. Stories in Spanish and English tell of the supernatural, of migrant life, of middle class anxieties, and of family bonds.

The following week, on September 19 at 6:30 pm, AHC scholar Barbara Jaquay will present another kind of story, as she speaks about roadside shrines in “Descansos: Marking Passages.”

Descansos (meaning “rest” in Spanish) were first used by the Conquistadors to mark the locations of deaths in the Americas. Today, similar roadside memorials are still being placed along the nation’s major highways and city streets. In her talk, Jaquay will examine the historical evolution of the descanso, the various crosses and the memorabilia placed with the cross, and various states’ policies on the placement of roadside shrines.

Then, on October 10 at 6:30 pm, Dr. Doty will return to facilitate an examination of Alberto Alvaro Ríos' first book of short stories, The Iguana Killer, winner of the 1984 Western States Book Award in Short Fiction.

According to the University of New Mexico Press, “The stories collected here might be described as small miracles. Ríos confronts some big questions – often from a child's point of view – but he does so in the language of a poet… His stories show us a culture in transition, one reaching back all the way into the jungles of Mexico, rooted in the ancient Mayan and Aztecan civilizations, but extending all the way into the present as well, a present where confused governments go to war over ‘coffee’ and almost anything can happen to a young Chicano, including love and generosity. In the end we see that The Iguana Killer is the story of us all.”

Throughout September and October, eight Monday Night “Did You Know? ...” documentary films will round out series programming. On September 10, the featured film is Carlos Fuentes, followed on September 17 by The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo and then by Pancho Villa: Outlaw Hero on September 24.

October’s lineup includes Octavio Paz (October 1), Mojados Through the Night (October 15), Farmingville (October 22), and When the Mountains Tremble (October 29). All films will be screened in the Meeting Room at 5:30 pm.

Area residents interested in participating in book discussions may obtain copies of featured books by visiting the front desk at the Copper Queen Library at any time preceding discussion dates. A library card is encouraged, but not necessary, to borrow featured titles and participate in discussions. Residents interested in viewing films or lectures need only arrive at 6 Main Street at the scheduled time. Admission to all events is free.

For further information, contact the library at 432-4232.