Kenosha Public Library hosting cultural events

KPL taking advantage of READ Africa grant

By Laura MarranKENOSHA.COM

After two decades in journalism, Marran earned her Master’s degree in Exceptional Education from UW-Milwaukee and has served as a special education teacher with Kenosha Unified School District since 2006. A Marquette University School of Journalism alum, Marran has lived in Kenosha since 1987.

“Reading takes us away from home, but more importantly, it finds homes for us everywhere.” — Jean Rhys

Kenoshans can enjoy rich experiences from across the world this month, thanks to a READ Africa grant awarded to the Kenosha Public Library.

“Kenosha Public Library is excited to share that we are the recipient of the READ Africa grant from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, African Studies Program,” said KPL Communications Specialist Brandi Cummings.

After learning that they were awarded the grant, the programming team planned  experiences centered around Africa’s rich and varied cultures with music, film, dance and literature taking center stage. Events highlight the arts, including programs on music of Tanzania and Namibia, Ghanan-American literature, and the dance traditions of West Africa.

“What better way to experience and celebrate a culture than by diving into the arts?” said Cummings.

Music of Tanzania and Africa: Peter Dennee, professor of music and chair of African Studies at Carthage College, will present READ Africa: Exploring the Music  and Culture of Tanzania and Namibia in both virtual and in-person formats. The event will introduce participants to the enchanting music and stories of his time spent researching the music of the Chagga, Maasai, and Meru. 

Peter Dennee

The in-person event is set for Wednesday (Aug. 25) from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Northside Library Activity Room, 1500 27th Ave. The virtual event will be held at the same time, via Zoom link. Registration is required for both in-person and virtual formats. For information go to or to register by phone call (262) 564-6130.

After the presentation, patrons are invited to check out the other diverse and creative stories representing Africa’s cultures and experiences now available in the library catalog.  These titles are provided by the African Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Comparative Film Discussion: Portia Cobb, associate professor of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will present a comparative film discussion about movies inspired by African-centric storytelling and the oral history structures in these films.

The virtual event is set for Thursday (Aug. 26) from 6 to 7 p.m. Registration is required, for more information go to or call 262-564-6130.

Panadanza Dance Company: This dance performance explores the traditions of the African Diaspora from West Africa across the Atlantic to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil and the United States. After the performance, the dancers will give the audience a fun group lesson, including a hands-on hip-hop beat-making demonstration and dance cypher for all ages.

Set for Saturday (Aug. 28) from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Southwest Library, this event is free and no registration is required.

“Transcendent Kingdom” Book Discussion: Join the library community for a discussion of The New York Times bestseller “Transcendent Kingdom” by award-winning Ghanaian-American novelist Yaa Gyasi on Monday, Aug. 30 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Southwest Library, 7979 39th Ave. Please call (262) 564-6130 to register and arrange to pick up a copy of the book.

The broad range of events represents the library’s mission, organizers said.

“The Kenosha Public Library vision statement paints a picture of a community that embraces global diversity. When the opportunity arose for the READ Africa grant, our team knew we had to seize the chance to bring these amazing titles to our community,” Cummings said.

Furthering this mission will be Hispanic Heritage Month events throughout September. Watch for an upcoming Bookmark column celebrating these events, related reading and more!