Mamie Anthoine Ney, Director
Deb Cleveland, Head of Children’s Services
Auburn Public Library
The Auburn Public Library had a mission: to help preserve the once-vibrant French-speaking culture of the Maine area it serves. Its strategy: The “Fun with French” program, geared toward the Library’s youngest users and their families. With a EJK Mini-Grant, the program was able to expand its reach to school-age kids. All of which had a positive impact on the community, which includes the descendants of 19th-century French speakers, families with children adopted from Haiti and recent immigrant families from French-speaking African countries.
Starting in July, a four-week program of songs, storytelling and crafts introduced French language activity kits on the themes of colors, numbers, family and house. The kits, bins filled with books, games, toys and learning tools, can be checked out of the Library. More programs were given throughout the year on France, Canada and Haiti, including holiday traditions (and food!), songs, games and other engaging activities. In making bilingual education fun, this program helps make language heritage a thing of the future.