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The Bettendorf Public Library would like to extend a hearty welcome — or “¡Bienvenidos!” — to everyone in our community and invite you to attend Global Gathering Mexico.

Global Gathering Mexico is a two-month celebration of the culture, heritage, and traditions of our neighbors to the South, held in September and October.

Our purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding about Mexico, but to respect and appreciate the diversity our neighbors with Mexican roots bring to the community. Global Gathering Mexico is made possible by the generosity of our Title sponsor Terrostar Interactive Media, our Authorized Edition sponsor Morgan Stanley, and the Bettendorf Public Library Foundation.

September and October are chockful of unique programs that are a perfect blend of education and entertainment. One special event of note is the performance from the Glenview Middle School Mariachi Band at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. The band formed to meet the musical and cultural needs of Glenview’s Latino population with students learning to play a variety of traditional Mariachi instruments. In turn, the band teaches audiences about Mariachi music, playing concerts and providing clinics throughout the region.

You also will not want to miss Juan Dies, co-founder of the two-time Grammy Award-nominated group Sones de Mexico Ensemble. On Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m., Juan will present for one of our regular music programs, Trax from the Stax. The listening program will take you on a tour of Mexico’s diverse traditional music explaining the history, geography and highlight what distinguishes each unique style. And then on Friday, at noon Oct. 18, Juan will be playing a very special Brown Bag Lunch Concert featuring pieces from his 25-year career in Mexican folk music. These programs with Juan Dies are sponsored in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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All three of the library book discussion groups, Contemporary Books, Get Lit and Mystery Book Discussion Group, will be reading and discussing titles related to Mexico. For more details about titles and meeting times, call the Information Desk at 563-344-4179.

The list of program offerings does not end there. Global Gathering Mexico will also feature: arts and crafts workshops; make and take drop-ins; an Artist in Residency with local artist Ana Garza Moore; film screenings; presentations from the Figge and Putnam museums; lectures by individuals from Knox College, the University of Iowa and Western Illinois University; and performances from Crooked Cactus and Quad-City Ballet Folklorico. Phew…. Truly, there will be something for everyone!

If the programs have you hungry for more, you can take some of the Global Gathering Mexico experience home with you. We have added many new items in a variety of formats to our collection highlighting all things Mexico. Keep your eyes on our displays for CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays, and of course, many new books covering a range of subjects from fiction to travel, cookbooks, history and more.

For a full list of events, visit bettendorflibrary.com/programs, or pick up an events brochure at the Library. Join us!

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David Otten is a librarian at the Bettendorf Public Library.

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