The Power of Books Dr. Arturo Madrid donates Chicana/o Studies library to NNMU


The Power of Books

Dr. Arturo Madrid donates Chicana/o Studies library to Northern New Mexico University


Patricia Trujillo

ESPAÑOLA, NM – On the evening of February 25, 2015, a full room gathered to dedicate the Arturo L. Madrid Collection at the Ben Lujan Library on the campus of Northern New Mexico University. The evening marked a donation of over 600 volumes from Dr. Madrid’s personal academic collection. The collection includes historic and contemporary volumes that represent the over 40 year history of Chicana and Chicano Studies as an academic discipline.

Guests were welcomed by Dr. Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, president of NNMU, in which she described Dr. Madrid’s long career as one dedicated to “the on-going struggle for educational justice for Chicanas/os.” The dedication marks the first donation of its kind to the NNMU library. In her remarks, Dr. Barceló shared that she asked Dr. Madrid why he chose Northern for his collection, he responded, “Books need to be here for others to enjoy and learn from.”

Dr. Madrid is native of New Mexico, raised in Tierra Amarilla. He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico (1960), and holds a Ph.D. degree in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from UCLA (1969). He is the author of multiple reports and essays on educational, cultural, and literary matters as well as of a family memoir, In the Country of Empty Crosses, published in 2012. Currently, he is the Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professo of the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Dr. Madrid’s collection is housed in a re purposed area of the library that once housed the periodicals section, but with a recent renovation and the doubling of space at the Ben Lujan Library, there is more room for these kinds of projects, Barceló said.

Amy Ortiz, staff librarian and cataloger of the Arturo Madrid Collection, commented that it was of great interest and honor to be the person to catalogue the over 600 volumes. After spending hours cataloging the items donated by Dr. Madrid, she reflected, “It’s almost as though I became acquainted with him through the many inscriptions throughout his collection. They reflected a very successful career and the support he offered to his colleagues as they pursued their research and writing. Each item offered a glimpse into the knowledge and experience Dr. Madrid shared in the field of Chicana/o Studies. I look forward to witnessing the impact this collection will have on our community. The staff and I at Ben Lujan Library are extremely proud to own this unique collection donated by Dr. Madrid.” 

As one of the members of the earliest cohorts of Chicana and Chicano academics in the nation, Dr. Madrid has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies and he’s been awarded numerous honorary doctorate degrees from across universities the nation. In his career he has worked in the Midwest, Texas and New Mexico.

When Dr. Madrid took the podium, he took the opportunity to recall that his, “first intellectual moment happened for me right down the road, here in Española.” Growing up in T.A., he and his friends would come to Española to watch matinees at the movie theater in the 1950s. It was there that he first saw Macbeth. “After that, something was lit. I went back to my school library and checked out the book. The power of books was born in me.”

He acknowledged working hard at his grandparents’ farm in San Pedro, he said, “Ramos and Trinidad Barela Tafoya taught me about plants and farming. That is where I first learned about diligence and working hard.” But Dr. Madrid knew he had another calling in studying the literary and linguistic contributions of Chicanas and Chicanos in the U.S. He hopes that the collection will help young people in the area come to learn the importance of the university and what it means to have access to such resources. He closed his remarks by saying, “I will continue to add to the collection and trust that students will use these books and continue to see their value.”

The Arturo Madrid Collection will be a circulating collection, all the books donated by Dr. Madrid can be checked out with a valid NNMU ID. All others are welcome to visit the Ben Lujan Library and enjoy the books in the reading room.


Mon-Thurs: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat & Sun: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information about the collection, please contact Amy Ortiz at (505) 747-2243.

All photo credits to Stephanie Montoya, NNMU Public Relations

Photo 1: Dr. Arturo Madrid speaking at the event.

Photo 2: Patron getting a closer look at the books in the collection.

Photo 3: Dr. Pedro Martinez, Provost of NMMU, welcoming guests to campus.

EDITOR’s NOTE: An earlier version of this article had stated the date of the even as March 25. It has been corrected to note that the event occured on February 25.