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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Books gift for tribal library

    UA library science graduate students are coming together to help build the collection of a small tribal library.

    The Dr. Fernando Escalante Community Library and Resource Center, located on the Pascua Yaqui Native American Reservation north of Tucson, is small but will soon gain a few important books, said Jessica Hernandez, a library science graduate student.

    At 11 a.m. Saturday, students in the Knowledge River Program, a scholarship program for library science students interested in minority groups, will donate 50 youth- and tribe-oriented books to the library, said Monique Becerril, a library science graduate student.

    “”These were books that they could not afford to purchase when they first started their library and were collecting books to buy,”” Jessica Hernandez said. “”It’s special for them to have the books that they couldn’t buy about their culture.””

    A Yaqui dictionary and thesaurus were found on the Internet and will be donated, which will add to the library’s collection of important tribal books, Becerril said.

    Originally, the School of Information Resources and Library Science donated $200, two other student groups donated $200 each and students hosted a percentage night to pay for the original 1,500 items, Jessica Hernandez said.

    The library, which opened Feb. 18, now has around 1,900 items, which includes books, CDs and DVDs, said Oscar Hernandez, the librarian.

    “”It’s kind of small for a library, but it’s a start,”” said Oscar Hernandez, who graduated from the UA’s SIRLS graduate program in 2007.

    Tribal libraries are important cultural resources because many times Native American tribes are isolated and the nearest library can be far away, Jessica Hernandez said.

    Often there is no Internet connection on reservations, so having a library becomes an important source of information, Jessica Hernandez said.

    Many larger non-Native American libraries don’t have books on the history of a specific tribe, but the Pascua Yaqui library will have books on the history of their tribe, Jessica Hernandez said.

    A section of their library features books by members of the Pascua Yaqui tribe, which documents achievements of tribe members and archives the tribe’s history, Oscar Hernandez said.

    “”I don’t think any other library, at least in Arizona, has this special collection devoted specifically towards the Pasqua Yaqui,”” Oscar Hernandez said.

    The library is located on a residential street, near a youth center, and will be a good resource for the community, not only because of the information housed in it, but also because of the comfortable atmosphere of the library, Jessica Hernandez said.

    “”What’s really cool is people are going to have this information center literally right next door, at their fingertips,”” Hernandez said.

    Jessica Hernandez said the library will probably see an increase in kids spending time there over the summer, since – with the economic situation – parents have less money to send kids to summer camps.

    Some of the books the students will donate are hard-to-find and expensive books, Jessica Hernandez said.

    The students worked with Oscar Hernandez to ensure they will donate books he thought would enrich the library, Becerril said.

    Because the library is also a resource for children, the students will donate books from the popular “”Twilight”” series, she said.

    The library will also help students in the School of Information Resources and Library Science because it will offer another place for internships and volunteering opportunities, Jessica Hernandez said.

    On Saturday, there will be an opportunity for UA students to visit the library; there will be transportation available and an open house for anyone to attend, Jessica Hernandez said.

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