Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Navajo Librarian Battles Hurricane Sandy to Bring Books Back to Navajo Nation

With the winds of Hurricane Sandy hitting gusts of 50-miles-per-hour, Irving Nelson, Program Supervisor for the Navajo Nation Library in Window Rock, drove a 26-foot truck loaded with 7-tons of books through Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Monday.

Nelson is making his second trip this year to bring back over 16,000 books and a dozen computers that will be distributed to 16 schools on the Navajo Nation and Hopi reservation.

A similar trip in July brought back 15,000 books and 21 computers.

The books and computers are being donated by Reader to Reader, a Massachusetts literacy organization that has donated over $1,000,000 worth of books to the Navajo Nation in the past ten years.

A team of Reader to Reader employees and volunteers raced to load the truck, trying to beat the storm as it moved up the eastern seaboard.

“Irving Nelson is one of a kind,” said Reader to Reader founder David Mazor.” He’s very dedicated and he’s even willing to drive through a hurricane if it benefits the Navajo and Hopi people.”

It's not the first praise Nelson has received. In 2009 he received the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian's Prism Award.

The books are expected to arrive in Window Rock, Arizona on Friday, November 2, after a 2,300 mile journey, and will be distributed to schools the following week.

Some of the schools receiving books include St. Michael Indian School, Alta Vista Elementary, Jeddito School, Navajo Pine High School, Window Rock High School, Pine Hill School, First Mesa Elementary, Hopi Mission School, Second Mesa Elementary School, Moencopi Day School, Pine Hill School, Gallup Catholic School, Keans Canyon Elementary School, St. Bonaventure Mission Indian School, Valley High School, and Hopi Jr./Sr. High School.

In addition to the list of schools, books will make their way on to the shelves of boys and girls clubs, senior centers, the Navajo Nation Library and their branch library in Kayenta, the Thoreau Community Center, and will be given out by the First Lady of the Navajo Nation, Martha Shelley, in her outreach to Navajo children.

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