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Celebrating diversity

Multicultural March and Harmony Day are a time to celebrate the rich and diverse communities across New South Wales.

These events provide people with an opportunity to share their culture and experiences and engage with the broader community through events such as festivals hosted by local councils and library programs. 

Here is a snapshot of activities and programs held in NSW public libraries for Multicultural March and Harmony Day 2018:

Artist demonstrating Chinese painting techniques to a group

Blacktown leads Moving Forward Together  

Joelmon Zungar, Blacktown City Libraries 

Hundreds of people from Blacktown and other parts of Sydney turned out on Sunday 18 February for the inaugural Moving Forward Together Festival, celebrating International Mother Language Day and Harmony Walk. In proud partnership with local community groups, Blacktown City Libraries also welcomed members of the community throughout the week to enjoy in various programs and events such as community language classes, multicultural story time, a film screening of Sheltered, live demonstrations of Chinese painting, hijab/scarf sessions for women and an author talk with Erwin Cabucos. These events united the highly diverse Blacktown population who were all captivated and eager to learn about the variety of wonderful cultures and traditions in their community.

Longing to Belong

Carina Clement, Albury Libraries    

Albury City Library exterior

The Albury community celebrated Harmony Day on March 21 with a range of activities including a delicious wood-fire oven event, a Henna evening at Albury LibraryMuseum and the launch of Longing to Belong. Longing to Belong is a photographic exhibition exploring identity and place and features members of Albury’s multicultural community. The project aims to celebrate Albury’s growing diversity and encourage a positive sense of identity and belonging. The images were displayed along the windows of the LibraryMuseum and the pavements of Retro Lane Café (at the rear of the LibraryMuseum) and Lavington Library and projected in the Laneway alongside the LibraryMuseum.  

The exhibition is an outcome of the Albury Wodonga Cultural Exchange (AWCE) program, a partnership project between Albury Libraries and Albury Wodonga Migrant Settlement services. AWCE aims to develop multicultural hubs based in our libraries and promote a welcoming and cohesive society that respects all cultures.  

Food and Books 

Zannia Watson, Ku-ring-gai Library

Library garden at Gordon

Food and books? At Gordon Library, we find this pairing to be a recipe for success. This year we celebrated Harmony Day by hosting a multicultural recipe swap. A simple meeting turned into a three-hour morning tea where participants contributed samples of dishes that represented their cultural heritage. Recipes for curries, dumplings, fruitcake and New York cheesecake were shared as were family stories that went with them.

On May 8 we launched our first Flavours 101 Club, open to anyone with a love of food from novices through to gourmets. Library staff are getting involved in the food revolution too with an early morning working bee in our library’s kitchen garden, bunkering the beds down for winter, harvesting herbs and sharing homemade breakfast treats. Gordon Library’s foray into food is a story of the ways in which a library, passionate staff and a diverse community can find common ground. 

Harmony Day in Coonamble

Raquel Pickering, Coonamble Library

Harmony Day items in Coonamble

Coonamble Library celebrated Harmony Day with A Taste of Harmony. Library visitors sampled food from around the world and had a chance to win food packs by participating and answering questions as we sat down and had a chat. After successfully guessing the countries the different food came from, the participants had to locate the countries on a globe before winning the prize!

During the event we held a discussion about what harmony actually means and once we had agreed on a definition, we talked about what Harmony Day represents in Coonamble and how the group sees their role in promoting harmony. The answers were surprising, insightful and interesting. We spoke about how they identify themselves culturally and if they had ever met anyone from a different country or culture. We had a great afternoon. 

Planning ahead

This is just a small snapshot of some of the amazing events and activities held across NSW public libraries during Multicultural March and Harmony Day. 

For ideas and free resources to use to promote your library CALD collections and services during Multicultural March and at any other time of the year, see the information available under Multicultural Services for public libraries.