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December 14, 2006

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Central California library receives $10 million gift from tribe

Central California’s largest academic research library will benefit from a $10 million gift from Table Mountain Rancheria.

Table Mountain Rancheria, located in the Sierra Nevada foothills north of Fresno, has donated $10 million to the new Henry Madden Library, currently undergoing renovation and construction at California State University, Fresno.

One of the tribe’s subsidiary organizations helped build the acclaimed National Museum of the American Indian on the Capitol Mall in Washington, D.C. The tribe also operates the Table Mountain Casino.

The gift is the largest single cash gift in the university’s history and will enhance the $95-million library project, which will be completed in fall 2008.

At 350,000 square feet, the new Henry Madden Library will be the largest library in the California State University’s 23-campus system and the largest academic library between Southern California and Bay Area. It also will be Fresno State’s largest academic building.

“The Rancheria is making the gift to help improve educational opportunities for all students in Central California,” said the tribe’s chairperson, Leanne Walker Grant. “Table Mountain Rancheria is committed to supporting education and health care, and the General Tribal Membership of Table Mountain Rancheria sees its gift to Fresno State’s library as the best way to serve the educational needs of the region.”

Dr. John D. Welty, Fresno State’s president, said: “As we move into the future, it is very important that we never lose sight of the past. We need to recognize the contribution of the entire Native American community in the San Joaquin Valley. That wisdom and connection to the land needs to be cherished, recorded and passed on to future generations.”

The Madden Library’s new design drew inspiration from Central California’s natural surroundings and from the area’s American-Indian heritage. The entry exterior, for example, emulates intricate basket-weaving techniques of local American Indians.

The university’s Peace Garden, just west of the new library, was incorporated into the design. The garden houses monuments of people who brought peace and hope to this world; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., César E. Chávez, Mahatma Gandhi and peace activist and social reformer Jane Addams.

The Peace Garden and the library will feature lush landscapes of native plants, trees and grasses, many of which are used to weave baskets. Cut-granite benches inscribed with the plant names in native languages will surround the garden.

The library’s interior also will be a visual reflection of Native American designs. Rich earth-tone colors will evoke the spirit of the region’s natural beauty and fabrics for the furnishings will evoke basket weaving patterns.

The link between the interior and exterior of the building will be realized in digital projections onto the elevator walls that will be visible from the Peace Garden and within the new library.

The Madden Library, with more than one million volumes, is in the center of the 23,000-student campus known for its academic programs in business, health care, the arts, agriculture and education. The library records more than 800,000 visitors a year, from researchers and historians to visiting elementary school through university students. It is the primary academic resource of faculty and students at all levels of education in the region.

Its collections reflect the diverse interests of the academic community as well as several generations of conscientious collection development. A variety of specialized collections of rare and historical materials all contribute to the Madden Library’s importance as the major academic resource for the region. Its collection of children’s literature is the second largest in the U.S. and it serves as the political archive of Central California.

The Henry Madden Library project includes construction of an architecturally striking four-story, 283,600-square-foot building and the renovation of the existing 68,695-square-foot south library building, which dates to 1980. The two buildings will be connected.

The new library building will introduce state-of-the-art information technology systems and reshape the overall role of the library within the Fresno State campus. Its individual and small-group study areas will have wireless Internet access. There will be room for nearly double the 1 million volumes the Library houses now, as well as for more and larger special collections.

“The library is the academic hall of knowledge and the heart of any great university. The new Henry Madden Library will underscore the excellence of the overall academic enterprise at Fresno State,” Welty said.

State funding for the project came from the Proposition 55 bond measure approved by California voters in March 2004. Architects are A.C. Martin Partners Inc. in association with Hillier Architecture. Swinerton Builders is handling construction.

For more information contained in this release, please go to the following Web site(s):

View the Presentation (PDF 8.2mb) Right-click and "Save Target as.."

Video clips from Fresno State -- most in Real Media, some Quicktime. Windows Media...

Video clips from Fresno State -- most in Real Media, some Quicktime. Quicktime...

Video clips from Fresno State -- most in Real Media, some Quicktime. Flash Video...