FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A bilingual story time, crafts, and food is how the University of Arkansas Fort Smith and the Fort Smith Public Library are celebrating the start of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Although the Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff event is geared toward kids, anyone is welcome to go to the Fort Smith Public Library’s Main Library from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 15.

Those with the university and library said they hope this will allow kids to learn more about other cultures or celebrate their own.

“Because the more that you know about something, the more you understand, and the more friendships you can make,” said Robin Benham, the Youth Services Librarian for the Fort Smith Public Library.

UAFS is planning an event for each Thursday throughout Hispanic Heritage Month. Check out the lineup of celebrations here:

Cafecito y Pan Dulce: Coffee, Culture, and Conversation
September 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Campus Center Fireplace

Sí Se Puede en UAFS: Yes We Can at UAFS
September 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Campus Center Reynolds Room

Second-Annual Salsa at the Bell Tower
October 6 from 6:30-9 p.m.
UAFS Bell Tower

Breaking Generational Stereotypes: Learning More About the Hispanic Student Perspective (A Student Open Forum)
October 13 from 12:15-1:30 p.m.
Windgate Theater

“Overall, the concept of Hispanic Heritage Month allows us to feel like ‘yeah, we are as well as much American and a part of American culture, but we are also part of this culture that we live in, breathe in, and do everything with,’ and when we combine those two, we get to invite people from both our lives to celebrate together,” said Cristina Castorena, the Hispanic Heritage Month Chair for UAFS.

Benham said next month, the Fort Smith Public Library Genealogy Department is offering a make-and-take craft night, where kids can find out about their family backgrounds and different cultures that they may be a part of. It’s also going to be having a drawing for a family movie night basket, which includes the movie Coco, where the main character learns about his ancestors.

The library is hoping events like these will encourage families to apply for library cards, and UAFS is excited to create more ways for its students to connect to Hispanic culture.