A new Amharic language collection will be housed at the Silver Spring Library (8901 Colesville Rd.), County Executive Isiah Leggett's office announced on Wednesday.
On Thursday afternoon, Leggett joined members of the Ethiopian community for a formal announcement about the new collection. Also speaking at the event were Meron Wondwosen, secretary of the Ethiopian Literary and Cultural Awareness Association, and Elias Woldu, vice chair of the African American Advisory Group, according to a statement from Leggett's office.
Amharic is a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia and is the second-most spoken Semitic language in the world, according to the statement from Leggett's office.
In Montgomery County, there are more than 58,000 residents who were born in Africa, and Ethiopians make up the largest segment of African immigrants in the county, the statement added.
"I am pleased about the addition of this collection to our library system," Leggett said. "We will continue to address some common barriers such as language access that exist in many of our communities. Adding this Amharic language collection is a major step toward better meeting the needs of all our residents, and I am hopeful that other language collections will be added in the future."
Included in the new collection will be children's and young readers' stories and language learning materials, adult fiction and nonfiction and a limited number of compact disks, according to a statement from Leggett's office.
In addition to this Amharic collection, Montgomery County's public libraries currently house collections in Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, French and Russian. A Farsi language collection will be added to both the Gaitherburg and Praisner library branches in early winter, the statement added.
"We are using demographic data and feedback from our residents in determining the make-up and location of our collections," Montgomery County Public Libraries Director Parker Hamilton said.
"Montgomery County’s diverse population makes it crucial for us to continually assess community needs and interests to support, encourage and inspire our customers," he added.
The formal announcement about the Amharic collection took place Thursday, Oct. 24, at 1 p.m. at the county executive's conference room in the Executive Office Building (101 Monroe St., 2nd floor, Rockville).