UTSA Libraries Receives Gift of National Association for Bilingual Education Records

Sep 30, 2013

By Stephanie Sanchez, Senior Communications Specialist

NABE News

The National Association for Bilingual Education’s history now can be found where it was partially rooted. 

Dr. Albar A. Peña, the first director of the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies at The University of Texas at San Antonio, helped start the association and became its first president in 1975. Now, nearly four decades later, the association’s records are being preserved at the university.

NABE recently donated 61 boxes of correspondence, administrative files, legislative lobbying documents, audio-visual materials, photographs and conference records. The association is an advocate for bilingual and English language learners, and cultivates a multilingual, multicultural society by supporting and promoting policy, programs, pedagogy, research and professional development.

The collection constitutes 43 years of history that represent the work many individuals have carried out to advance bilingual education in the U.S., said Rossana Ramirez Boyd, Ph.D., immediate past president and current member of NABE.

“We are pleased to know the UTSA Libraries will make the information available to the public,” she said in a statement. “This is particularly important to the new generation of scholars and policy makers who have been searching for NABE’s history to write their thesis, dissertations and articles on bilingual education.”

Belinda Bustos Flores, Ph.D., chair and professor for UTSA’s Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies, said when Boyd contacted her, she wanted to do everything possible to make sure the materials were housed at UTSA.

“When I heard about the possibility, I thought it has to be here,” she said. “There are historical roots and reasons for UTSA having the NABE archives. Dr. Albar Peña had a long history of advocacy and vision. … When I was approached, I said, ‘Yes, we can do it.'”

Flores said she knew the university had the capacity to preserve the materials. She added that there were people who had a vested interest in bringing the association’s history back to where it started.  
“I knew that UTSA wanted to capture some of its history,” she said. “What a better way to capture its history and legacy than by bringing the NABE archives here.”

After many conversations between Flores, UTSA Libraries Dean Krisellen Maloney, Head of Special Collections Mark Shelstad and NABE’s executive board, the association voted to donate the materials.

Shelstad said NABE was looking for a location with a reputation of strong collections, and services that included organizing and making the collection available for research while providing onsite and remote reference services. 

The collection's inventory guide is now available online. Students, policy analysts, teachers and others interested in the instruction and legislative efforts around bilingual education may view the collection by request.