Published: Oct. 6, 2021 By

After receiving a question from a graduate student not long ago, Assistant Professor and Romance Languages Librarian Kathia Ibacache set out to incorporate more books by Indigenous authors from Latin America into the collections of University Libraries.

Kathia Ibacache“You know, we don’t have books written by Indigenous authors,” Ibacache told a 9News reporter recently, recalling the student’s words to her.

In the 9News story marking National Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month, Ibacache explained that having the voices of Indigenous people represented in the campus’s library collections is critical to preserving Indigenous knowledge and languages.

“There is plenty of scholarship addressing Indigenous cultures and languages from an archeological point of view, but we didn’t find the representation of Indigenous authors,” said Ibacache, who wrote a scholarly paper about the issue earlier this year titled, “University Libraries as Advocates for Latin American Indigenous Languages and Cultures.”

Ibacache’s other research interests encompass teaching and learning technologies and collection development. She told 9News she is now working with lesser-known publishing houses in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Guatemala to find books and media by Indigenous and other authors whose cultures and languages are underrepresented in the publishing world, and that those books are making it into CU Boulder's collections.

“It’s a matter of access, allowing people to have access to the knowledge in the world,” she said. “This is what librarians can do, and I feel proud of the work we’re doing here as being part of the revitalization of Latin American Indigenous languages.”

On Oct. 28, Norlin Library will host a “Nahuatl Evening” from 5 to 6 p.m. to highlight works added to the library’s collections.