Expanding spaces and faces at the Labriola Center

Published March 14, 2022
Updated April 1, 2022

“We’re back. And it's really just a starting point.” —Alex Soto (Tohono O’odham)

In the eight months since becoming Director, Alex Soto has been growing, cultivating and leading the ASU Library’s Labriola National American Indian Data Center in new and exciting ways. With a combination of events and expanding outreach into the community, especially the local tribal communities, the Labriola Center is poised to become the leading Indigenous-led library space. Your donation to the Labriola Center provides meaningful library services and resources to nearly 4000 Native  American students at ASU.

Five people of various genders standing between the Labriola bookshelf and O'odham Storytelling Table
Lourdes Pereira (Hia-Ced O’odham & Yoeme), Utohna Francis (Diné), Alex Soto (Tohono O’odham), Elizabeth Quiroga (Tohono O’odham), Eric Hardy (Diné)

Sometimes the library can be an intimidating place, especially for first-generation Native American students. “When students come to ASU, the library can be an overwhelming place to navigate. To have an all American Indian staff at the Labriola Center, allows American Indian students to see themselves in the library.”

Two women wearing masks looking at a book

Whether it’s music and hip-hop nights, or book talks with Indigenous authors, Labriola is attracting audiences from all over ASU. “These events have created a space at the Labriola where students, especially American Indian students, can strengthen their community ties to better support each other during their time at ASU,” said Eric Hardy (Diné), Program Coordinator at Labriola. 

All of these events led up to the reveal of Labriola’s breathtaking O'odham Storytelling Table on the second floor of Hayden Library last fall. Designed by ASU’s Indigenous Design Collaborative, the dedication of the table brought together students, faculty, and leaders of many tribal communities. “We are an Indigenous library and we're here to support you and your students,” said Alex. “This second floor space will continue to grow and evolve and be a place for students and community.” 

This is only the beginning. “Labriola is showing students all that the library has to offer, in new and unique ways. We're offering spaces for students to critically reflect on who they are, and their ties to their culture and their stories,” said Alex. 

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