Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, Aug. 06

Read all about Tuba City Public Library almost completed

After several years of effort, the new Tuba City Public Library is one step closer to opening. The library will move from its current location next to the Coconino County branch office to the historic Trading Post building, across from the Hogan Restaurant.

The Tuba City library is one of only three libraries on the reservation, serving Page, Kayenta, the Hopi Reservation, Cameron, Cedar Ridge, Gap and Tuba City. With such a large service area, the new building will not only give the library some much needed elbow room, with somewhere around 6,000 square feet, but the ability to provide library patrons with new services, including computer and Internet access as well.

“Right now, the people here—people in Tuba City and on the outskirts—do not have this kind of access,” says Lena Fowler, president of the Tuba City Cultural Projects (TCCP), a non-profit organization which has renovated the historic Trading Post. With extended hours, the library will be able to offer the community free access to computers, even after 5 p.m., which is particularly good for the student population.

“We have students here attending Diné College and NAU, and this will give them a place to do their homework,” says Fowler. And with access to the Internet, students will also have increased research opportunities. The new library will have a total of eight computers for the new computer lab, donated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Four of those will technically belong to the library, and four will belong to the chapter.

But the new library may have even greater, positive effects on the Tuba City community, says Fran Kosik, also with the TCCP. Kosik points out that all the buildings on this section of Main Street are historic and the area could qualify as an historic district, bringing in more tourists and, subsequently, more money. As renovation projects like the library are completed, tourists have more places they can actually visit. Without renovations, that is not the case.

TCCP now needs $100,000 to finish out the project, for carpet, tile, partitions for the computer lab and community meeting room, tables and chairs. “We have a couple of grants in with the Navajo Nation right now,” says Kosik, which would cover the final expenses. In addition, she says, the Flagstaff library has conducted a fundraiser for new shelving, which is suprisingly expensive—$2,000 per section.

But if all goes well, Kosik expects the new library facility to open during the first part of May. Once the renovation is complete and the programs are in place, the TCCP will move out to begin their next project. The library itself will be run by Coconino County, which will provide $86,000 a year of library district funds for library operations.

The success of the library project, say Fowler and Kosik, to community involvement and working with people who understand the community. They credit Coconino County Supervisor Louise Yellowman and former Supervisor Tom Chabin with instrumental help and support. But they also credit the people of Tuba City. “The community has really taken ownership of the project,” says Kosik. C

Community support will continue to be a valued asset after the library is complete. “We’ll need more help from local education facilities to run the computer lab, with people to teach classes,” says Fowler. And hopefully, the library will be able to hire more staff and extend its hours, to better serve the community.

To find out how you can help the Tuba City Public Library, contact Tuba City Cultural Projects, Inc., at (520) 283-5951 or (520) 283-4946.

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