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Millcreek Journal

Millcreek Library celebrates diversity with Welcoming Week

Nov 04, 2019 11:54AM ● By Hannah LaFond

Annie Eastmond stands with a family who participated in Millcreek Community Library’s Tales and Tunes event. (provided by Annie Eastmond)

By Hannah LaFond | [email protected]

During the second week of September, the Millcreek Community Library participated in Salt Lake County’s Welcoming Week through music and stories. 

County Library Public Relations Coordinator Tavin Stucki explained the week as, “Salt Lake County’s annual celebration that brings together people and local events to celebrate the contributions of immigrants and refugees throughout the community.”

Events were held in all 16 branches of Salt Lake County’s libraries so more people could participate. The Salt Lake City Public Library System also created two booklists, one for children, “Immigration Experience,” and one for adults, “Immigrant Narratives.” Both offer many books to relate to and learn from. 

Annie Eastmond, who’s worked in the Salt Lake County Library System for over 15 years, was excited to organize events around this theme for the Millcreek Community Library.  

For Eastmond, the theme of welcoming everyone was completely natural for a library. She said it’s already one of the first places people feel at home when they arrive in the U.S. 

“We are a welcoming community with friendly faces ready to answer questions and help people,” Eastmond told the Millcreek Journal. “Our resources are free — you can borrow books, movies, music, magazines … use computers and attend programs that entertain and educate. New Americans feel comfortable here first.” 

To celebrate this openness and to communicate the message to children, Eastmond planned “Be a Friend to Everyone.” During the week of Sept. 14–21 (Welcoming Week) all the story times at the Millcreek Library were centered on the theme of kindness. She called this program “Be a Friend to Everyone” because she wanted something that explained accepting everyone regardless of background that a child would understand. And as Eastmond put it, “It’s never too early to start teaching these basic kindnesses.” 

Eastmond is also a talented musician. She and her husband Dan Eastmond are co-chairs of the Utah Storytelling Guild Olympus (Salt Lake Valley) chapter. Through her love for music and stories, she planned the event Tales and Tunes at the library on Sept. 16. During the program, Annie and Dan Eastmond told stories and sang songs from different cultures to celebrate our differences, as well as our many similarities.

“Music and stories are a natural universal connection for all people,” Annie said. 

And she seemed to be right. The event on Sept. 16 had a great turnout. Families from different cultures arrived at the Millcreek Community Library to participate in Tales and Tunes. 

For their final song Dan and Annie Eastmond performed “This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land,” but they weren’t alone. A family of children jumped up to sing the song with them. It was a beautiful and spontaneous moment that embodied the purpose of the evening and the whole Welcoming Week. Annie couldn’t have been happier to have the children's accompaniment.  

“This is what it’s all about. This is awesome,” she said. “They felt very much at home and welcome and it was a fun end to our program.”