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UCR computer access promoter given "21st Century Librarian" award


UCR computer access promoter given "21st Century Librarian" award

(May 7, 2001)

Richard Chabrán, the Director of Communities for Virtual Research at the University of California, Riverside, is the first recipient of Syracuse University's 21st Century Librarian award.

Chabrán's efforts to increase access to computers and the Internet for minorities and the poor, and in launching Chicano library collections and research tools for studying Chicano culture at two UC campuses, reflect the values the national award's organizers seek to recognize. Chabrán will receive a $5,000 prize and an invitation to Syracuse University this fall for an awards ceremony.

"Mr. Chabrán has exemplified the spirit of 21st Century librarianship - actively adapting the established principals, practices and values of the profession to a changing information environment," said a statement from the presenters at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies released Friday, May 4.

He received a Master's Degree in library and information studies from UC, Berkeley in 1975. From 1975 to 1979, he helped develop the Chicano Studies Library at Berkeley and later the Chicano Studies Research Library at UCLA. In 1993, he began developing the Chicano/Latinonet, now recognized as a major Latino Internet site. Chabrán came to UCR on special appointment in 1995 and was hired in 1997 to become the director of the of Communities for Virtual Research at UCR.

"What Richard Chabrán has done is to take the university into the community and provide ownership by the community of the informational infrastructure that's been pretty much closed off to them," said UCR Anthropologist Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez.

Chabrán's expertise with the Internet and its impact on those who cannot afford to use it has thrust him onto the state and national stage. On a statewide level, Chabrán served on the California.

Senate Bill 600 Task Force on Telecommunications Network Infrastructure in 1995, which explored how schools, libraries and community centers could gain access to new information technologies. He has also testified before the state legislature to help define the issues that shape the digital divide between the technology haves and have-nots, and to suggest solutions to bridge the gap.

Nationally, Chabrán serves on the Project Action Committee of the National Science Foundation's Advanced Networking Project for Minority Serving Institutions. The group seeks ways to allow institutions that serve minorities and the poor to offer them a full range of technology services.

He helped establish the Community Digital Initiative at the Cesár Chavéz Community Center, which makes the Internet and other computer services available to the mostly-minority Eastside community of Riverside.

"Richard has had a big impact on the campus and community since coming to UCR," said UCR Librarian James Thompson. "As University Librarian, I feel it's exciting that the first recipient of this award is going to be one of UCR's most esteemed librarians."

All 250 students at Syracuse University's Master of Library Science Program participated in the vote that selected Chabrán from more than 100 nominees nationwide for the 21st Century Librarian Award.

Chabrán's other awards include the University of California's 1996 Librarian of the Year award, mention in Hispanic Business Magazine's list of 100 most influential Latinos of 1997, and the UCLA Latino Alumni Association's 1997 Padrino Award.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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