Celebrate Local Hispanic Heritage Exhibit

Main Library

September 1 – October 15

Discover the story of local Hispanics, who have brought rich diversity and cultural traditions to enhance our community. For more information about the exhibit, visit this page. Click here for Hispanic Heritage Month programs.


The Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration normally kicks off in mid-September but started early this year at Gail Borden Library with a colorful no-touch, bilingual exhibit.

Beautiful outfits from the Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl (BFH) sway in the main rotunda, reminding viewers of the many times the talented dance group has performed at the library and in the community.  The group is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

"We are proud to loan our outfits to the library," said Cynthia Hernandez, Executive Director of BFH.  "Our mission is, 'To engage and inspire future leaders to realize their potential through artistic expression and community engagement.' Having our cultural outfits on display at the library helps us let people know in the community that we have been using dance to engage others for 25 years."  

In addition to featuring the Folklorico outfits, the exhibit traces the history of Hispanics in this area, noting that the Census indicated "19 natives of Mexico were living in Elgin Township" in 1930, to 14,576 people "of Hispanic origin" in 1990, to the 2020 Census estimate of approximately 52,000 (45.7% of 114,797).

One panel explains that workers were recruited from Mexico to became railroad section hands who dug up land and installed railroad tracks, including those of the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway. It also adds that many Hispanics worked for the Woodruff & Edwards Foundry by the 1920s.

The exhibit also includes information about Hispanic churches, organizations and U-46's dual language program.

We thank the Elgin Area History Museum, E. C. Alft, author of "Hispanics in Elgin," and Mary Camacho for being valuable sources of information.