The Arizona State University Library has appointed Alex Soto to the position of director of the Labriola National American Indian Data Center, the library's dedicated Indigenous research, study and gathering spaces and services supporting scholarship, education and community engagement.
Services draw upon the center's notable collections of specialized and open stack materials by, for and about the Indigenous Peoples of North America, with a focus on Arizona and the southwest.
Soto, a member of southern Arizona's Tohono O'odham Nation, was previously an assistant librarian with the Labriola Center, and will serve as the center's first new director in more than 20 years and only the second academic professional in the center's history.
The importance of information literacy and the role of reparative archives within tribal communities inspired Soto toward a library career, following years of success as a touring hip-hop musician and activist. These experiences now inform his vision for Indigenous librarianship and the Labriola Center at ASU, which is situated on the ancestral homelands of the Akimel O'odham and Pee Posh peoples.
Under Soto's leadership, the center will expand its study, research and community spaces in Hayden Library, the university's largest library on the Tempe campus; develop programming and enhance partnerships for greater engagement and connection to the communities it seeks to support; and advance opportunities that prioritize Indigenous knowledge systems.
"ASU believes in leveraging our place in the Arizona communities we serve," said Jim O'Donnell, University Librarian. "We have a unique opportunity to build on the successes of Labriola to create a truly distinctive center closely tied to the people it represents and serves. We are lucky to have the ideal leader for this in Alex Soto."
Read the full story on ASU News.