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Library to hold PRESS CONFERENCE Announcing formation of the NJHRIC
Press Release January 22, 2001

The Newark Public Library, along with noted members of the Hispanic community, will hold a press conference (and photo-op) announcing the formation of the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center (NJHRIC).

DATE/TIME: February 7, 2001; 11:00am
LOCATION: The Newark Public Library, Centennial Hall (second floor), 5 Washington Street

Recognizing the importance of the state’s large, growing Hispanic community, The Newark Public Library is embarking on a fund-raising campaign to create the NJHRIC. This three-tier project will include:

(1) The continued development of the Sala Hispanomericana, which already has a collection of 37,000 Spanish-language books, magazines, videotapes, and has a bilingual staff.

(2) The creation of a research collection aimed at the special needs of students, scholars and other members of the community, making it possible to conduct in-depth research into New Jersey’s diverse Hispanic community.

(3) The establishment of an archive focusing on the heritage of New Jersey’s Puerto Rican community, the state’s largest and longest-established Hispanic group. This would incorporate a vast wealth of materials collected from the community: diaries, letters, oral histories (audio tapes and videotapes), photographs, documents from government agencies and community organizations, periodicals, graphic arts and posters.

This project is an excellent candidate for support from major foundations,” said Dr. Alex Boyd, director of the library. “But before these funds can be requested, we must first conduct a survey to assess the nature and extent of materials to be collected, the costs involved, and the space needed to house them. At this stage,” Dr. Boyd added, “we are seeking to raise an initial $20,000 for the survey.”

Dr. Olga Jimenez-Wagenheim of Rutgers University’s Newark campus has agreed to serve as chair of the project’s organizing committee. Dr. Jimenez-Wagenheim, a specialist in Caribbean and Latin American history and author of several books and articles, has directed the Puerto Rican Studies Program at Rutgers-Newark for more than 20 years. “Her commitment will go a long way toward insuring the project’s success,” Dr. Boyd stated.

New Jersey’s Hispanic community has grown by 45% each decade since 1960, to nearly one million people. More than 10% of New Jersey’s population is now of Hispanic origin, adding to the state’s rich ethnic mix, said Dr. Jimenez-Wagenheim. Puerto Ricans, she noted, comprise nearly half of the Hispanic population—but there are also significant numbers of Cubans, Dominicans, Mexicans, South and Central Americans.

The NJHRIC will be developed under the direction of Ms. Ingrid Betancourt, coordinator of multicultural services at The Newark Public Library. She has 20 years of experience in the delivery of library services to Newark’s community, particularly to its Hispanic residents.

To collect funds for the NJHRIC, an account has been established. For questions or comments, interested persons may phone Ingrid Betancourt at (973) 733-3637 (e-mail: ibetancourt@npl.org), or Dr. Paul A. Stellhorn, assistant director for development, at (973) 733-7793 (e-mail pstellhorn@npl.org). For information regarding the project’s organizing committee, please call Dr. Olga Jimenez-Wagenheim at (973) 353-5410 (e-mail: ojwagenheim@cs.com).

 

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