Queen Public Library's 'Bring Your Story' series uplifts the immigrant experience

Ratha Yatra in Flushing, Sept.12, 2010. Photo by  James Wrona via Queens Memory

Ratha Yatra in Flushing, Sept.12, 2010. Photo by James Wrona via Queens Memory

By Sheik Floradewan

Throughout June, Queens Public Library branches will uplift the stories of the borough’s diverse cultures and communities in honor of Immigrant Heritage Month.

The monthlong “Bring Your Story” program will celebrate the World’s Borough through residents’ recipes, traditional clothing, music and dance.

Immigrant Heritage Month has enabled residents of Queens and people across the United States to “explore their own heritage and celebrate the shared diversity that forms the unique story of America,” since June 2014, according to the I Am An Immigrant coalition. And QPL, whose motto is “We speak your language,” has embraced its role in the various communities of Queens.

Each QPL branch will feature a world map for people to trace their family’s journey to the United States. There will also be cookbook for people to write down their family recipes and share them with Stories Around Food. QPL will choose one recipe for a special cookbook.

Other activities include creating a “Family Flag,” where library goers will make a unique family flag using colors, shapes and pictures that are meaningful to them. Library visitors can also write and tell folktales in their native languages as part of the Wikitongues Project, and participate in a multicultural mini-fashion show at select locations in Stories Around Clothes.

Starting June 6, there will be a three-part event series to celebrate the launch of the first season of the Queens Memory Podcast, “Memories of Migration,” which features history recordings with Queens residents. Each event will include a conversation with a featured storyteller from the episode.

Library visitors are also invited to bring photos and other historic materials that tell the story of their families settling in the U.S., particularly in Queens.

A total of of 20 QPL branches will also host a Queens Memory Station, where library staff will scan items and upload them through the Queens Memory website for submission to the library’s local history collections.