The scope of this collection focuses in the areas of Chicano/Latino studies and the study of US born Latino populations and immigrant communities. The materials collected broadly cover a range of disciplines. Works which treat historical, social, cultural, and political aspects of Chicanos and Latinos in the U.S. are especially of interest as are materials written or produced by Chicanos or Latinos.
The purpose of this collection is to support the curriculum and research needs of the Chicano and Latino Studies Program at Michigan State University. With the multi-disciplinary nature of this collection, other departments and research centers may have an interest in the materials acquired (e.g. The Julian Samora Research Institute, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, History, WRAC, Sociology, RCAH, Education, etc).
Many of these materials are housed within the Cesar E. Chavez Browsing collection, located on the first floor of the Main Library. This circulating collection is comprised of newer publications, classics and some reference materials.
The Cesar Chavez Browsing Collection was established in 1995. The collection is a result of cooperative efforts between the Libraries, the Office of the President and the Michigan State University chapter student group MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan). In 1994, the MSU chapter of MEChA led a campus-wide campaign for the university to support the United Farm Worker's Grape Boycott. This boycott was in place as a call to large corporations to stop using pesticides on their products, which in turn affected the health and safety of farmworkers in the fields. Demonstrations including sit-ins and hunger strikes followed on campus throughout the next year for the university to acknowledge and support its Chicano and Latino students who came from farmworker families. In 1995, the Office of the President and MEChA came to an agreement that it would honor the Grape Boycott with a "No-Grapes Day" every March 31st, create more Chicano/Latino Studies related courses, and establish a Cesar Chavez collection in the main library to honor the UFW Leader. This collection would not be here today without the voices and strength of Chicano and Latino students fighting for representation and support from the university.
The collection is representative of Chavez's life. It reflects his commitment to unions and labor, non-violence, truth, respect and an appreciation of diversity, education and his cultural background. Cesar was a frequent visitor to the Lansing area, and as such, the collection also reflects the midwest presence of migrant farm workers.