OSID collects books for culture house libraries

Krystina Slack

Behind the doors of Augustana culture houses, there are many books dedicated to the various cultures that each house represents. That is one of the ways culture houses are so unique. Books help us better understand people, their experiences and histories. This is important to help guide and teach future students. 

From Feb. 9 to May 1, students in the Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity (OSID) are running a book drive for the three culture houses: Casa Latina, Black Culture House and Asian Pacific Islanders Desi American House (APIDA).

“Back in the early 2000s [and] late 90s, students really utilized the libraries that we have in our culture houses, but not a lot of people really utilize them today,” sophomore Elia Murillo, one of the students who helped organize the book drive, said.

The culture houses’ libraries are not limited to published books. There are also different types of works from past Augustana students, old magazines and more.

“Handwritten letters from past BSU members, as well as some photo albums from old things that the Black Student Union used to do… They are also part of the library,” junior Alexis Osei-Kofi, president of the Black Student Union, said. “We have old editions of Jet magazine, which I think is really cool because it kind of shows the past culture in the day.”

Even though the culture houses do not have large libraries, the content their libraries hold is essential to the student population here at Augustana College.

According to senior Jennifer Santos-Martinez, co-president of Latinx Unidos, the book drive’s goal is to educate students about other cultures and help students learn more about their own cultures.

“Especially me being Hispanic, there’s some stuff that I still don’t know about my culture,” Santos-Martinez said. “I think these types of books will help to understand better and go deeper into the background of what you’re trying to learn, as well to enjoy something new and then be a bit more informed about these type of topics.” 

Culture houses and their libraries welcome all, meaning the entire student body can benefit from knowledge collected inside the houses.

“Ask for the key, and you can use the house,” Osei-Kofi said. “I feel like many students on campus who aren’t people of color or a part of the organizations tend to neglect the houses, and I feel like it’s a great experience for all students, no matter your background.”

Speaking with culture groups and attending their events betters our understanding of one another. OSID organized the book drive with this idea in mind.

To donate books or learn more about the houses and cultural groups on campus, stop by the OSID office on the fourth floor of the Gerber Center.