Libraries have books! Lots of them! Everyone knows this, of course. But libraries today are much more than just repositories of books. They are community centers. They facilitate learning. They provide entertainment. They serve as technology hubs. They promote civic engagement and American values.
The Morton Grove Public Library strives to be such a library. We offer great collections and services but also a variety of programs that entertain, educate, and bring our community together. In this spirit, MGPL is starting 2020 with a new series of programs called More Than A Month, which celebrates the Black experience through its history, culture, and heritage.
The series was inspired by the PBS documentary More Than A Month (screening at the Library on Sunday, February 2), made by the African American filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman. The film asks a controversial question: “Is it time to end Black History Month?” Arguments laid out in the film can lead to many conclusions. I don’t have the definitive answer to this question myself, but watching this film confirmed to me that events about Black history, culture, and heritage must be an integral part of our Library programming and should be scheduled all year round.
Things to See and Do at the Library
Kicking off our More Than A Month series is the poster exhibit “A Place for All People,” which highlights key artifacts from the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington D.C. that tell the rich and diverse story of the African American experience. The exhibit (organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service) will be open to the public in the Baxter Auditorium from February 1 to March 31.
Other programs in February and March include:
- Concert tribute to Aretha Franklin
- Traveling While Black virtual-reality experience (registration required)
- Meet the Author visit with Freedom Rider Thomas Armstrong
- Presentation on Black classical composers
- Presentation on Black communities in Chicago’s North Shore
We are also scheduling more events for the rest of the year: we hope to have a Soul Food presentation in May, a storytelling event sometime in the fall, and many other programs in between.
I am looking forward to attending many of these programs myself, and I hope to see you there too!
Natalya Fishman is the Adult Services Manager at the Morton Grove Public Library.