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Celebrating Multi-Cultural Diversity in the Library!

April 01, 2013

Opportunities seem to present themselves over and over to me on reaching out, celebrating, and embracing the multicultural diversity of customers that frequent our branch. Having lived in the Kansas City area most of my life, I have become familiar with quite a number of cultures and traditions over the years. I love that we are a public library system that does its very best to reach out to all ages, races, and ethnicities! In our ever-changing melting pot of represented cultures, I have come face-to-face with some interesting situations and customs.

For example, I have learned that, though some people may "take for granted" that public libraries are fairly common and accessible, this is certainly not the norm for people from other countries! Through a wonderful interaction that I had recently with a family who had moved to the KC area from the Middle East a few short months ago, I discovered, along with several co-workers, that they appreciate SO VERY MUCH the welcoming attitude they have felt at our branch over the course of several visits. They have been amazed that they can come and hang out, spending hours if they so desire, to have questions answered, attend programs, and even use their laptops here… Now, you may be thinking that of course, we are great with customers of all ages and multicultural backgrounds! It’s our job! It’s what we do!

Well, to some of these customers from other backgrounds, I have been informed or reminded that this is a luxury to them -- an unexpected, inexplicable, wonderful thing. It has been transactions like this that make me stop, marvel, and truly appreciate, from a different perspective, just what it is that we really do here at MCPL. What we all do, on a regular basis, is embrace, accept, and hopefully celebrate the many cultures and backgrounds of our patrons. I am truly blessed to work for this fine library system, and I sincerely hope my co-workers across our many branches in three counties feel the same way.

It is not always a multicultural element or difference that we encounter. Whether someone is having a good or bad day, we smile and try to encourage them in some small way. The bottom line is that we all have opportunities every day where we work to make our customers' corner of the world a brighter, kinder, friendlier place because they have walked through our doors. So, each day we work, we need to remember that we are truly making a difference in the lives of others! We hope that we have done that for you.

Dawn E.
Red Bridge Branch

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