Internet & Electronic Resources
Reference, Collections, Services
Community Libraries
For Children
Servicios En Espanol
Public Technology Center
Programs and Exhibits
About the Library
Greater Newark Community

Newark Public Library receives $10,000 grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities for Puerto Rican Community Archives Project
August 27, 2008
Media only, please contact:
Dennis Papp at (973) 733-7798

The Newark Public Library, 5 Washington Street, has received a $10,000 grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, to support the continuing work of the library’s Puerto Rican Community Archives project.

"This project is the first archival collection of Latino materials in the state," noted Library Director Wilma J. Grey. "It is one of the key components of the library’s New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center, the division that is dedicated to expand, preserve, and make accessible information about the history and culture of Latino communities in Newark, Essex County, and New Jersey."

The project, which serves as a model for other New Jersey Latino communities, is under the direction of Supervising Librarian Ingrid Betancourt and Project Archivist Yesenia Lopez.

Ingrid Betancourt, who serves as MultiCultural Services Coordinator at the library, will serve as Project Director, assuming overall responsibility for the New Jersey Hispanic Research and Information Center. Ms. Betancourt developed and administered the federally funded Multilingual Materials Acquisition Center, a statewide information clearinghouse and resource center with materials in 12 languages, providing library services, programs, and materials for New Jersey’s linguistically and culturally diverse populations. Ms. Betancourt also manages the World Languages Collections of the library, comprising materials in 19 languages. Ms. Betancourt has organized numerous exhibitions and public programs for the library’s annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Active in the community, she has served as a member of the boards of directors of several organizations, including La Casa de Don Pedro, the Institute for Latino Studies, Research and Development, and ASPIRA, and as a member of community advisory boards for New Jersey Network and WNET, public broadcasting affiliates.

Yesenia Lopez has been the Project Archivist for the Puerto Rican Community Archives since 2002. Ms. Lopez earned her master’s degree in library and information science, with a certificate in archival management, at Long Island University in 2007. She served as an archivist trainee in 2002 at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York, and completed internships at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College and with the Center for Hispanic Policy, Research, and Development at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. She will be responsible for training and supervising the Archival Assistants and for processing, arranging, and describing materials in Puerto Rican Community Archives, for making those materials available to researchers, and for preparing finding aids for those materials.

The New Jersey Council for the Humanities grant funds will be used for archival supplies and the hourly wages for archival assistants who will complete preliminary processing of materials donated to the Puerto Rican Community Archives. These materials include manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, deeds, diaries, minutes, maps, flyers, scrapbooks, sound records, videos, posters, journals, and the recently conducted oral histories. After the assistants prepare initial descriptions of the materials, the archivist will prepare final descriptions of records in accordance with national standards established by the National Archives and by the society of American Archivists.

"The goal of this archival project," explained Ms. Betancourt, "is to safeguard the records that document work and life, preserving community memory and promoting cross-cultural understanding."

These primary-source documents will be available to researchers, demonstrating how Puerto Rican individuals and organizations have participated in New Jersey’s economy, civic life and culture. "It will expand our knowledge about Puerto Ricans and about New Jersey in the 20th century," Ms. Lopez added.


Internet & Electronic Resources | Catalog | Collections & Services | Community Libraries | Kids' Place | Servicios en Español | Computers & Classes | Programs and Exhibits | News | About the Library | Greater Newark Community

©2008 The Newark Public Library
5 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07101