World Language Collection & Lunar New Year

The picture shows wooden tables and chairs, as if in a cafe, with a clock on the red brick interior wall surrounded by a variety of wooden rectangular clocks painted with the flag emblems of various countries.
Photo by Farzad Mohsenvanda at Unsplash.

by Mai-Leng O.

Welcome to Howard County Library System’s World Languages Collection! 

Howard County is a diverse and multi-ethnic community where the population comes from a myriad of countries across the globe. The vibrant, multiracial population makes our county an exciting place to be. With the growth of these demographics, HCLS began to enlarge its World Languages collection, consisting of print literature and DVDs, to support the reading and viewing needs of all residents. 

Presently, the print collection consists of many languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and several Indian languages such as Gujarati, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Urdu. The World Languages DVD collection consists of languages ranging from Albanian to Zulu. Many of the DVDs have English subtitles, so non-speakers of the language can appreciate and enjoy movies and documentaries from countries around the world. 

In addition to the physical World Languages DVD collection, we offer streaming video options through the Kanopy and Hoopla platforms. You just need a library card!

We invite you to visit our branches to borrow and enjoy our World Languages print and DVD collections, or visit us at hclibrary.org to access the streaming platforms. Happy reading and watching!

Celebrate the Lunar New Year with these upcoming events:

Lunar New Year: What Animal Are You?  
Mon, Jan 23
all day
HCLS Glenwood Branch
Family; all ages. Drop In. 
Celebrate Lunar New Year at the Glenwood Branch! Are you a lion? An ox? A rabbit? Find out what animal matches your birth year, then decorate a paper animal to join others in this self-directed community art project.
Visit our classes and events page here for more information.

Dim Sum of Crafts 
Mon, Jan 23
11 am – 12:30 pm & 2 – 3:30 pm 
HCLS Miller Branch
Ages 4 & up. Drop In. Allow 30 minutes.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year with a variety of crafts. For more information, visit our classes and events page here for the first sessions and here for the second session.

Mon, Jan 23
2 – 3 pm 
HCLS Savage Branch
Ages 3 & up. Ticketed. Allow 30 minutes.

Visit our classes and events page here for more information.

Mai-Leng Ong is the Senior Materials Specialist at Howard County Library System. She holds a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Made From Scratch Exhibit

Soft pink and beige rays appear behind "Made from Scratch: Creating the Howard County Jewish Community," witht he Jewish Federation logo beneath.

by Joel F.

We can’t move forward without knowing where we have been. This is the essence of why the Jewish Federation of Howard County took on the creation of the Howard County Jewish History Project. By looking back at how the rapid growth of Columbia impacted the evolution of the organized Jewish community in the area, we are better able to chart a path into the future that builds on the work that has been put in by the leaders of the past.

The Jewish Federation is the major instrument of Jewish philanthropy and engagement in Howard County. We are a community-driven organization committed to taking care of the needs of the Jewish people and building a vibrant Jewish future in Howard County, in Israel, and around the world. We are responsible for looking out for the entire Jewish community in the county, not just one demographic segment or one geographic pocket.

The Howard County History Project, “Made From Scratch: Creating the Howard County Jewish Community,” is the type of venture that only a communally-minded organization like ours could take on. We are so grateful to the wonderful historians who worked on this project with us, Deb Weiner and Karen Falk. Assembling this collection of artifacts and anecdotes took over three years, and their process was greatly impacted by the pandemic. Howard County’s Jewish history dates back to the 19th century, but the exhibit starts in the 1950s, when 12 Jewish families settled in the area. It takes viewers through the most important inflection points in the community’s history over the next 50 years then wraps up with an epilogue that gives an overview of what the local Jewish community looks like today.

We are thrilled that the the exhibit’s tour stops next at HCLS Central Branch in the Equity Resource Center from January 4 – February 10. HCLS is one of our most important community partners, and we are always excited to collaborate with them. And if you are wondering when might be a good time to check out the exhibit, maybe try to schedule your visit on January 19, when the Federation and the library partner on an event with local author Diane Tuckman to complement the exhibit.

Photo of a Joel Frankel, a dark haired man with a beard, wearing a blue suit and red tie.

Joel Frankel was appointed the executive director of The Jewish Federation of Howard County on July 1, 2021. He and his family moved from St. Louis, Missouri, where he spent almost 10 years working at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. Joel and his wife Leah have two sons. As a family they love exploring everything this area has to offer, especially the tot lots, playgrounds, and all of the amazing trails.

Now Lending Video Games

Xbox video game for FIFA23, with a soccer play in a blue uniform on the front.

As of Tuesday, December 20, Howard County Library System offers video games!

For this pilot project, we have a small selection of games for XBox, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 and 5. Games are rated E, E10+, and T. Here’s what you need to know: 

  • Almost everyone* can borrow games from the collection. 
  • Due to limited supply, you can borrow one item at a time. Since this collection is new and small, we want to give as many customers as possible the opportunity to borrow a video game. 
  • You can keep the game for one week and renew it for another week, if no one else is waiting for it.  
  • You can reserve one game through our catalog at hclibrary.org. 
  • Overdue fines are $1 per day, with a $10 maximum. 
  • If you don’t return a game within 28 days after it’s due, we’ll charge you the cost to replace it. So please return your game!  

Visit your library, pick up a game case, then take it to the customer service desk to get the game.  

*Games may not be borrowed with these types of library cards: Educators, Homebound, Satellite Collections, DIY, and Temporary Residents.

Films for Change & Racial Equity Report

The Shared Legacy movie poster is all in grey scale, with a photo of a Black family shown on top and a Jewish family in the middle, with an African proverb separating them: If the lion does not tell his story, the hunter will.

Thursday, January 12
5 pm: film
7 pm: discussion
HCLS Miller Branch

Registration required.

Shared Legacies depicts inspirational African American and Jewish collaboration in the 60s Civil Rights era, shows that connection changing, and calls for it to be renewed in light of “divisive seeds of hate taking root anew in the American landscape.”

After viewing, participants and panelists from the African American and Jewish communities ask:

  • Can the legacy continue? How can our communities move forward with a shared agenda to promote racial equity in Howard County, as well as fight for an inclusive economy, education, and healthcare for all, and the equitable dispensation of justice?
  • Is there a joint role in the era of mass-incarceration and the post-January 6th America?
  • Can we move from friction (like that surrounding Ye and Kyrie Irving) to relationship and shared action?

The discussion will be informed by the local report recently released by HCLS: Inequity Within: Issues of Inequity Across Communities.

Films for Change is a series of documentaries about racial equity, each followed by panels featuring local leaders and organizations. Sponsored by the Horizon Foundation.  

In partnership with the African American Community Roundtable, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Howard County, The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission, and the Howard County NAACP.

Inequity Within Report

Over the last two years, Howard County Library System engaged more than 600 people in racial equity training. Using national data about disparities across education, health, housing, and legal systems, the trainers found that racial inequity looks the same across systems, socioeconomic difference does not explain racial inequity, and systems contribute significantly to disparities.
Howard County Library System’s new Inequities Within: Issue of Inequity Across Communities report examines the racial equity landscape in Howard County and across the state of Maryland. The data show disparities across education, healthcare, housing, economic, and legal systems for every racial group.

Page 10 of the Inequity Within report, showing bar graphs, titled "Jurisdictional Comparison of Socioeconomic Indicators".

In Howard County, for example:

  • Black residents are three times more likely to be denied a home loan than non-Hispanic white residents.
  • Hispanic students are 5.4 times more likely than white students to skip school because they felt unsafe.
  • Asian residents in the county are 1.8 times more likely to face poverty than non-Hispanic white residents.

As one of the wealthiest, healthiest, and most diverse communities in the state and the US, the belief that racial inequity does not exist here can be a hindrance to addressing those disparities.

We invite you to read the report, educate yourself, and join with us and others in this work.

For opportunities to learn more and discuss with community members, check here for classes and events.

Funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Maryland State Library Agency

Local History with Marcus Nicks

Marcus Nicks, dressed in a grey suit and striped tie, stands out

Marcus Sankofa Nicks is an educator, researcher, and historian of African American History. He regularly facilitates conversations surrounding the African American historical experience, the topic of race, and its present-day implications. He has served in the Howard County Public School System for more than 12 years, primarily supporting Black/African American students through a culturally relevant, trauma-informed approach. Since then, he has established History Heals Consulting, LLC, which uses African American history as a vehicle to aid schools, institutions, and businesses in fostering healthy and inclusive environments.

Nicks offers a multi-session course that takes a comprehensive and expansive look at the history of African Americans in Howard County. It covers the influences and contributions of African Americans from the earliest beginnings of Howard County up to the contemporary era. He provides historical accounts and a wide range of perspectives on the diverse experiences of African Americans.

The Establishment of Columbia, The Rouse Dream, and Its Impact on African Americans

Monday, Dec 12 at 6:30 – 8:30 pm Central Branch
Register at bit.ly/hclsheal3

Upcoming sessions in 2023:
January 9: Influential African American Trailblazers & Pioneers in Howard County

February 13: Finding New Meaning and Perspective Through the Lens of History

From an interview with Marcus Nicks:

What was your first job?
After graduating from Bowie State, an Historically Black University, I became a substitute teacher. I taught in Howard, Anne Arundel, and Baltimore Counties, and the educational landscape of these school systems helped give me a broad sense of how to engage students of various ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic statuses. After a year, I decided to return home to the Howard County Public School System as a full time educator.

What is a book you’ve read that changed how you think about a topic or your life?
A book that significantly shaped how I think about life and see the world was The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley. I remember there being so many mixed depictions about Malcolm X, so I decided to read the book for myself. I read it as a college student and remember it being more intriguing to me than any textbook. I found a lot of resonance to my life as a young adult. The book had many themes that provoked me into thinking more broadly on topics such as coming of age, trauma, racism, colorism, mental health, family dynamics, the incarceration system, Black Nationalism, peer relationships, Black history, and leadership. I found Malcolm’s X’s evolution inspiring and believe that we share similar qualities, such as the intent to educate and be studious, a work ethic, being a researcher, and using words and speech to analyze society critically.

What inspires/motivates you?
My family inspires and motivates me every day, since I know that what I do builds off a generational legacy. My parents always encouraged me to pursue education. My wife and life partner has always fully supported me along my journey.
I am deeply inspired by my daughter, who pushes me to be the best version of myself possible as a father. She continues to give me a reason to leave behind a legacy for her to be proud of.

I am further inspired each day through the lessons of history and the stories of those who rose above adversity amidst seemingly insurmountable odds. Lastly, I am inspired and motivated by anyone who is passionate about their craft.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I’m generally content with a quiet space to read and study (haha), but I would love to visit the continent of Africa. Africa has given so much to the world. I would love to visit the place where scientists have said human life first began. I would also love to experience the culture of various countries throughout the continent. Africa has been such an integral aspect of my studies, and I believe traveling there directly would have such a profound impact on me and my family that it couldn’t be put into words.

Let’s Share Seeds

Picture of a brightly painted fence and marigolds in a lushly green garden, with a painted sign that reads "Edible Landscape" and a smaller one that reads, "A garden of vegetables, flowers, and herbs."

by Ann H.

Seeds have been saved and shared since people began growing food. It’s a practice valued by farmers and gardeners worldwide. Every fall, as the weather turns crisp and my plants start to fade and dry, I check for seeds before too many birds have beat me to it. Sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds, and beans are some of my favorites to collect. Inside one dried flower head are enough seeds to create a whole garden. Scarlett runner beans that never made it to the plate were left to dry on the vine. Now that they’re crisp and brown, I crack them open and behold beans posing as purple gems eager for next year’s garden.  

Photo shows a woman's hands displaying an opened dried pod full of seeds.

You can reap the bounty of saved seeds at the Howard County Seed Share on January 21. At the Howard County Seed Share participants will be surrounded by vegetable, herb, annual and perennial seeds. If you have seeds, bring seeds. If you did not get to save any seeds or are new to gardening, join us to learn what other gardeners have been growing and take home some seeds. 

Seed exchanges are a terrific opportunity to acquire new varieties of seeds, save money, and reduce seed waste. Sharing seeds is a practical solution to today’s rising cost of living. When gardeners share seeds, they save money while acquiring new varieties of ornamentals, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Your bounty becomes another gardener’s gift and vice-versa. Seed sharing is a wonderful way to be more self-sufficient and experimental in your garden.  

Sharing seeds is a goodwill gesture that builds community and spreads cultural traditions. When seeds are passed from gardener to gardener, we nurture each other and our diverse cultural practices. Favorite seeds and their stories get a chance to take root and flourish. A seed swap is an ideal setting to learn from one another. Come gather, learn, and share at the Howard County Seed Share. 

January 21 from 2-4 pm at HCLS Miller Branch. Registration begins December 21.

Click here to register and for event details, resources, and tips for saving seeds. 

In partnership with: University of Maryland Extension – Master Gardeners, Howard County Bureau of Environmental Services, Community Ecology Institute @ Freetown Farm, Watershed Stewards Academy of Howard County, Yards Alive! 

Ann is a Master Gardener and the Enchanted Garden Coordinator at the HCLS, where she has worked for HCLS for more than eight years. You can find her smiling in the garden and sharing her passion for plants, nature, and our community.