Flyer with multiple photos and colors
To celebrate Welcoming Week, the Library will host numerous events in September.

MOUNT VERNON — The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County kicked off its first Welcoming Week in Mount Vernon, Ohio this past Friday with an official proclamation from Mount Vernon Mayor Matt Starr.

Mayor Starr was joined by Mount Vernon City Council Member Amber Keener, United Way of Knox County Executive Director Lori-Jones Perkins, and Library Director John K. Chidester at an open house where patrons enjoyed delicious panaderia pastries from local baker Josefina Becerril and a book giveaway.

“The Library is all about connecting community members to information, resources, and each other,” says Development and Writing Program Manager Jamie Lyn Smith-Fletcher.

“We are often one of the first places newcomers visit after they move to Mount Vernon, so hosting Welcoming Week is a natural extension of work we’re already doing.”

To celebrate Welcoming Week, the Library will host the following events in September:

● Welcoming Week Community Read: Join us for a community book discussion of
Javier Zamora’s memoir Solito on Thursday, Sept. 14 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Gund
Gallery Annex, 12 E. Gambier Street, Mount Vernon. Complimentary copies of Solito are
available at the Main Library and the book discussion, while supplies last.

● Welcoming Week Children’s Storytime and Author Visit: Local author Debbie Nabubwaya Chambers will read from her children’s book Kwaheri Sandy Footprints, Habari Hiking Trails on Saturday, September 16 at 10 a.m. at Gund Gallery Annex, 12 E. Gambier Street in Mount Vernon. Complimentary copies of Kwaheri Sandy Footprints, Habari Hiking Trails are available at the Main Library and storytime, while supplies last.

● Welcoming Week Book Signing: Join Debbie Nabubwaya Chambers for a book signing of Kwaheri Sandy Footprints, Habari Hiking Trails from 11 to 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, September 16th at Paragraphs Bookstore, 229 S. Main Street, Mount Vernon.

● Welcoming Week Community Picnic and Potluck: The Library wraps up Welcoming Week with a celebration of international cuisine on Saturday, Sept. 16, from noon to 2 p.m. at Ohio Eastern Star Home Picnic Shelter, 1451 Gambier Road in Mount Vernon. The Library will provide main courses, catered by Chefs Nav and Rebecca from Georgetown BBQ/Cindy’s Pierogis. Chefs Nav and Rebecca will give a food demo; local organizations will share info about programs and events; Gund Gallery Annex provides free art kits for kids, and there will be outdoor games, weather permitting. Anyone who wishes to bring food or soft beverages to share is invited to do so. All are welcome.

As with all Library programs, Welcoming Week events are free and open to the public.

Welcoming Week is led by Welcoming America, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by ensuring everyone belongs.

The Public Library received a scholarship for 2023-2024 to participate in Welcoming America’s Rural Welcoming Initiative.

The initiative is still very much in the planning stages but engages organizations like libraries with city government, local nonprofits, health/human service organizations, and houses of worship to connect new community members with services, businesses, area recreation, arts and culture activities, employment and economic development, and opportunities for civic involvement in Mount Vernon.

For more information about Welcoming Week and other Library activities, visit, email, or call 740-392-BOOK ext. 259.

The Life & Culture section is brought to you by Knox Community Hospital.