CARLSBAD — At Carlsbad’s Georgina Cole Library, kids are traveling the world and exploring different countries without ever leaving the room through Culture Crafts, a hands-on program held each month.
Since 2008, hundreds of students have joined Carlsbad’s librarians for the free educational presentation, which explores cultures through folk tales, historical stories, and firsthand accounts from children in other countries. A craft project is also included.
“We want to offer something that helps kids see that there are more similarities between everyone in the world than there are differences,” children’s librarian Amy Jordan said. “It helps them see the world in a broad view instead of focusing just on our community.”
On Nov. 9, Jordan was joined by a group of students eager to learn about Festivals of Light celebrated around the world during the hourlong program.
“I’m particularly excited about this one because it brings in many cultures instead of focusing on just one,” Jordan said. “It’s a nice kick-off to the holiday season.”
Jordan researched different festivals, including Diwali in India and St. Lucia’s Day in Sweden, which were highlighted in the presentation. During the craft portion, students created rafts similar to those used in traditional Loi Krathang celebrations around Thailand.
When asked which festival in the presentation was her favorite, regular Culture Craft participant Madison Bunker said, “I like them all!”
Culture Crafts is loosely based on an older library program, Passport to Adventure, which ended in 2007. During that program, librarians had invited community members to speak about their culture or countries they had traveled to, but the list of willing volunteers was quickly exhausted, Jordan said.
Not wanting to cut the cultural learning experience from the library’s offerings, Jordan and other librarians began researching countries and cultures themselves and re-launched the program as Culture Crafts in 2008.
The new format allowed for the librarians to focus more on children in other cultures and the popular craft portion of the program.
“What we’ve found is that the kids really like learning about the culture as it pertains to themselves,” Jordan said. “We tie it in so they can see that kids do things similarly to them, just in other countries; it helps them to see the world in a broad view instead of focusing just on our community.”
Jordan also noted that while the library’s pirate-themed and Christmas-related events always draw a crowd, the Cole librarians are hopeful that Culture Crafts will gain a loyal following too.
“We’re always trying to find ways to keep kids coming back,” Jordan said. “We hope that they leave wanting to come back and learn more the next month.”