April 24, 2018

Richard Chabran | Movers & Shakers 2002

Bridging the Digital Divide

Empowering people and improving lives

“Librarianship’s most important values are reflected in the Library Bill of Rights,” says Richard Chabran. “And the first principle articulated there has been foundational for me: books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves.”


Current position: Director, Communities for Virtual Research, University of California-Riverside

Degree: MLS, University of California-Berkeley

Pioneer: Winner of the first 21st Century Librarian Award from Syracuse University (2001)

Indeed, Chabran has made enormous contributions within his community. He actively studies access issues in low-income communities through his work at the University of California-Riverside Communities for Virtual Research, seeking ways to bridge the Digital Divide. And Chabran is also a leader in the Latino community–he founded the much heralded Chicano Database available through Stanford University’s Eureka system and Chicano/LatinoNet (CLNet), a Latino Internet portal, to name but a few of Chabran’s many contributions.

In 1996, Chabran’s work earned him Librarian of the Year honors at UCLA. In 1997, he received the UCLA Latino Alumni Association’s Padrino Award and was named one of America’s most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business. And in 2001, he received Syracuse University’s first ever 21st Century Librarian Award, which comes with a $5000 check. All this, and Chabran still has time to contribute to local, state, and national policy discussions concerning the Digital Divide.

As Chabran knows well, knowledge is power. And by working to make knowledge available to his community, Chabran knows he is empowering people, making their lives better, and changing more than a few minds. “Over the years I have opposed misinformed terms like ‘information poor,’ which is one of the unfortunate terms used to describe Latino communities,” says Chabran. “Latino communities are information rich!”