Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Learning about Latin America at the Library - the New Orleans Public Library!

May 19th, 2017

The New Orleans Public Library has been learning about Latin America this past year with two special programs. Through the Stone Center for Latin American Studies’ Pebble Center, the community has been learning about Latin America through a bilingual storytime and a monthly teen film series.

Children ages 1 – 5 and their parents came out to a monthly bilingual story time focused on stories from Paraguay, Guatemala, and Brazil. This story time ran at two New Orleans branches – one uptown at the Children’s Resource Center and the other on the Westbank at the Algiers Regional Branch.

Teens on the Westbank explored Cuba with Stone Center Ph.D. candidate, Handy Acosta Cuellar who developed a film and reading series to explore current events within the country. Acosta Cuellar developed this program geared for high school students as part of his Research Project Associate (RPA) program. The goal of the film screening was to engage high school students with Cuban culture and to explore challenges and opportunities that the country is facing. The film topics explored youth, society, entrepreneurship, identity, music, religion, race, and environment.

Every third Thursday of each month from 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm, students and sometimes parents, came out to learn more about Cuba through film. The group screened Habanastation, (2010) a film that highlights social relations in the Cuban context through the eyes of two young classmates. The film also opened the discussion to religion and the Cuban revolution. Another film screened with the group was Viva Cuba (2006), a film that shares the story of two young students that take an adventurous road trip through the island.

Filmmakers and entrepreneurs from Cuba connected with the group like Cuban entrepreneur Javier Merlo who spoke about his work in Cuba. The focus of his work is on designing objects with recycled materials such as bottles, cans, old lamps, etc. Students were able to talk about Cuba-US relations, arts, green design and environmental protection. The documentary Código Color, Memorias was screened and the filmmaker, William Sabourin was able to accompany the film to answer questions. The film explores race across generations.

The film series was a success as students were able to learn about the many similarities between Cuba and New Orleans. We look forward to putting together another engaging program for the 2017 – 2018 school year!

Check out the Pebbles Center Calendar in the next couple months for more information or visit the Facebook page.

Cuba + People
Ana M. López
Director - Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute, Professor - Communication, Associate Provost - Office for Faculty Affairs