What are Friends For? TAMIU Challenged to Match Books with UT-Austin for El Cenizo Library

El Cenizo is planning a brand new public library, but doesn't have many books.

Texas A&M University's Colonias Program in Laredo has challenged Texas A&M International University and Texas A&M University, College Station, to change that.

After State Senator Judith Zaffirini's June announcement that she would support the library and help fill their shelves, over 5,000 books were donated to the El Cenizo public library. Over 2,500 of those came from the Austin area, including many from the University of Texas community.

On Senator Zaffirini's suggestion, Pedro "Pete" Lara, Sr., assistant regional director of the Colonias Program, invited Texas A&M International University and Texas A&M University, College Station, to join in a friendly competition and try to match or even exceed the number of books collected in Austin.

Rodney Webb, director of TAMIU's Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, explained that they are delighted to help out.

"After we received the invitation, we immediately put out a donation box in the front lobby of the library. Within a week, it was already full. We'll be collecting donated books through September and hopefully we'll meet our goal. We think community support for the creation of a new public library in our neighborhood is terribly important and we invite all community members to come to our beautiful campus and share their books with the folks in El Cenizo," said Webb.

He said a little friendly rivalry with the people in Austin was a good thing for El Cenizo.

"I know Laredo can match 2,500 books. El Cenizo is right here in our backyard and I fully expect both the University community as well as the local community to extend their warmth and friendship by donating books," said Webb.

He explained that books on any subject, in English or Spanish and in good condition were welcome and emphasized that the box was available all the hours Killam Library is open.

For more information, please contact 326.2400, visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 216, or e-mail rwebb@tamiu.edu. The library is open 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu