Citations (Library Newsletter) April 1999


Library a Partner in $450,000 Humanities Challenge Grant Award


As reported in the January 1998 Citations, the NMSU Library and the University Museum joined with NMSU’s College of Arts and Sciences to submit a grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant Program for the establishment of a Southwest and Border Cultures Institute on the NMSU campus.  The proposal, the brainchild of Scott Rushforth of NMSU’s Department of Sociology

and Anthropology, was successful, and the $450,000 grant was awarded to NMSU in November 1998.


According to Reed Dasenbrock, Director of the Arts and Sciences Research Center and project director, and Cynthia Hoffmann, project development officer, the Institute will promote humanities research, education, and outreach, with special emphasis on understanding and maintaining the unique multicultural heritage of our region.  The Institute will bring together the Library, the Museum, and several Arts and border Southwest.  No funds will be used for construction.


In order to make the Institute a reality, the Library and its partners are committed to meeting the challenge of matching the NEH funding 3 to 1 by October 31, 2002, with $1,350,000 in nonfederal funds to establish an endowment of $1,800,000

for the Institute’s ongoing support.  The $450,000 NEH award includes $75,000 for the Library, which must be matched with $225,000 to establish a $300,000 endowed fund for Library acquisitions.  $15,000 in earnings will be available annually from the Library Acquisitions Fund in mini-grants to researchers for the purchase of materials to support humanities research and outreach activities in Southwest and border cultures.


Library, Museum, and Arts and Sciences faculty and staff are working to meet the match

through activities such as phonathons, mailings, programs, events, additional grant proposals, giving opportunities, and legislative initiatives.  Your help is needed to help the Library meet its goal of $225,000 over three years.


This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to support a large library project that will make a real difference in the study of Southwest and border humanities and serve as a national model for other humanities programs.  The award is one of only ten challenge grants given by the NEH to U.S. colleges and universities in 1998 and was the largest such award, along with two others given to the University of Notre Dame and the University of Nebraska.  It is also one of the largest grants for research in the humanities and social sciences ever received at NMSU.


Thanks to the Library’s loyal friends and donors, the Library has built a respected program of humanities acquisitions, outreach, and research services, which will blend seamlessly with the activities of the Institute.  Its Special Collections unit includes classic works on Southwest and border history and literature, a Southwestern children’s

book collection, and a Western women’s collection.  The Rio Grande Historical Collections contains millions of pages of primary historical source material, including letters, photographs, catalogs, and records from the Southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico.  The Library’s new Borderlands Collection contains collections of Latin American materials, notably literature, many of which cannot be found in other U.S. libraries.


Future acquisitions for these collections, made possible by the Southwest Border Cultures Institute Endowed Fund for Library Acquisitions, will provide more unique and pertinent resources to support Southwest and border humanities research in this region.  In addition, outreach or humanities extension activities such as lectures, exhibitions, reference and research services, and an Institute web page will enhance the Library’s partnership with humanities scholars in bringing our Southwestern and border heritage and cultures to the people of New Mexico.  For more information on this exciting opportunity, please contact Jeanette Smith at 646-7492.