NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Rutgers University Libraries is one of the 55 organizations nationwide receiving a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association, to support varied programming about Latino history and culture.

The “Latino American: 500 Years of History” grant is an initiative to explore the rich and varied experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last five centuries, according to the National Endowment for the Humanities official website.

This initiative has been promoted by Nancy Kranich, special projects research librarian and faculty member at Rutgers.

“This program represents an opportunity to work collectively with other public libraries in the area, to collect more information about the New Jersey Latino experience, fostering a better understanding about it among new audiences,” Kranich told New Brunswick Today.

According to Kranich, the main purpose of this program is to draw attention to the incredibly rich history of Latino American community in New Jersey.

“This is something that has not been told before,” Kranich said, adding that about 20% of the New Jersey’s population is Latino.

“This grant will allow to expand the involvement of Rutgers with the Latino scholarship and community, bringing together people who work on issues related to this population, but do not necessarily get to know each other.”

As part of the programming, Rutgers Libraries in partnership with public libraries in New Brunswick, Camden and Newark will be presenting a series of activities including film screenings, exhibitions, book discussions and performances about Latino history and culture.

Viewings and discussions about the award-winning six-part documentary film “Latino Americans,” constitute an essential part of the public programing.

The film was supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and created for PBS in 2013 by the WETA public television station. It chronicles the history of Latinos in the United States from the 16th century to present day.

The screening of Latino Americans’ first episode, “Foreigners in their Own Land (1565-1880),” will take place on Saturday, October 10 at the New Brunswick Free Public Library Community Room, located at 60 Livingston Avenue.

The English version of the film is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and the Spanish version at 2:00 p.m.

After the screening, there will be a discussion led by Danilo Figueredo, renowned author of multiple books on the Latino experience in the United States and editor of the Latino section of the American Mosaic, an ABC/CLIO database.

Activities will be open to the public from September 2015 to June 2016.

Jesus Bravo is a senior student in mechanical engineering at Rutgers who came from Peru with his parents at the age of 11.

As student, Bravo considers the award as a good opportunity to empower Latino population through the exploration of its rich culture.

“This award attracts Latinos to be more involved and represent and by being educated about their culture, they can grow and become a more influential part of America,” he said. “All I can say is that being Latino feels really good.”

More than $1 million has been awarded to 203 libraries, museums and other nonprofit organizations across the country. However, only 55 will receive $10,000 and the other 148 organizations will receive $3,000 grants.

More information about the public programming and schedules is available at the following websites:
Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers Center for Latino Arts and Culture
New Brunswick Free Public Library 
Newark Public Library’s 2015 Hispanic Heritage Celebration schedule
Camden County Library