Oceanside Public Library is awarded two big grants

Oceanside Public Library is awarded two big grants
From left: Monica Chapa-Domercq, principal librarian, Sherri Cosby, library director, Kristi Hawthorne, Oceanside Historical Society president, and Tom Reeser, KOCT executive director, join forces to present programs on Latino history. The project will collect local first hand accounts and photos. Photo by Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Public Library was recently awarded a $10,000 Latino Americans 500 Years of History grant and a $20,000 Big Read grant.

City Council accepted grant funds on Aug. 5. Plans for grant-funded community programs in April and early May 2016 are being finalized.

The Latino Americans 500 Years of History program will be held March 31 to May 6 2016. Activities include a six-part film series, a citywide book read and collecting firsthand historical accounts.

“The Latino story is lacking in Oceanside history,” Sherri Cosby, library director, said. “The project is going to fill that gap. It’s a great opportunity to bring the Latino and non-Latino community together to view the film, read the book and celebrate the diversity that is part of Oceanside culture.”

The “Latino Americans” film series features Oceanside in several segments including those about World War II and local author Victor Villasenor.

History scholar Dr. Carmen Nava will lead question and answer sessions following each of the six one-hour screening. Keynote speakers will also talk with viewers.

Another part of the local Nuestra Historia Revelada program, or Our History Revealed, is gathering local firsthand accounts and photos of Latino history. Cosby said community outreach would invite residents to share historical accounts and photos. Bookmobile outreach will be included.

Scanned photos and firsthand stories will be compiled, shared with the community in early May, and permanently archived.

“The Unknown Americans” is the book selection for the program.

The library will work with the Oceanside Historical Society and KOCT television on the project.

Kristi Hawthorne, president of the Oceanside Historical Society, said she’s looking forward to the partnership, and revisiting earlier collaborative efforts.

Six years ago the historical society and library held a series of workshops to gather firsthand accounts and photos from predominately Hispanic Eastside residents.

Hawthorne said the former project added hundreds of photos to the historical society archives, captured interviews and renewed a sense of pride in the neighborhood. The photos continue to be displayed at the historical society.

“Families really stepped up to the plate,” Hawthorne said.

Tom Reeser, executive director of KOCT, said he is all in to begin the project.

“I love the opportunity to work with the library and historical society,” Reeser said. “It’s a great opportunity to fill in some programming that we have not been able to do before.”

The Big Read program will be held in September. It entails a citywide read of the western classic “True Grit,” and activities related to the novel.

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