ELCAA in conjunction with the Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) was instrumental in the establishment of an Amharic Language Collection at Silver Spring Library in 2012.
This process began in 2010 when a group of Ethiopians joined together and requested the acquisition and establishment of a collection of books, periodicals and online resources relating to Ethiopia, its culture, history, and language. In 2011, the group formed the ELCAA with the goal of strengthening Ethiopian literary & cultural life in the United States.
In 2011 and 2012, ELCAA continued to work with MCPL and advocate for the Ethiopian Language Collection. In 2012, MCPL announced that an Amharic Language Collection would be established in the Silver Spring branch of MCPL. The County Executive’s Office held a press conference in October 2012 to announce the establishment of the collection. ELCAA, who was invited to press conference, spoke and expressed gratitude MCPL and the community for the establishment of the collection.
As a result of ELCAA’s work with MCPL and the staff at Silver Spring Library, there is a collection of Amharic Language books for adults and children. In 2013, ELCAA continued to work with MCPL and the Silver Spring Library staff to enhance the collection, including suggesting books, CDs, DVDs and magazines for inclusion in the collection.
Beginning in April 2014, ELCAA in coordination with the Silver Spring Library Staff, began hosting Amharic and English bilingual story hour for children between the ages of 3-8 years old. The story hours consisted of reading a book in English and Amharic, providing an arts and crafts activity session, music and dancing. The readings included information on Ethiopian culture and history. For the older participants, ELCAA also included games such as jeopardy with questions on Ethiopian history and language. In 2014, ELCAA held 5 story hours where different stories were read in English and Amharic. For each session, at least 50-60 participants attended the events.
At the end of 2014, the Silver Spring Library was closed for renovations. In January and March of 2015, ELCAA held the Amharic and English bilingual story hour at White Oak Library. Over 80 members of the community attended each of the events.
As we mentioned this Saturday, the Silver Spring Library will reopen in a new state of the art facility and MCPL will be hosting a grand opening ceremony. ELCAA will be attending the event and will be providing information from our booth. We hope you can join us and help us to spread the word about this event to the Ethiopian Community in the Washington DC area. We are extremely proud of the Amharic Language Collection and we know with the support of the community, we can continue to grow the collection! ELCAA also plans to continue the Bilingual Amharic and English Storytime at the new library.