with the University of La Verne that has been closed for more than a
decade, is donating its entire Armenian-language collection to
The donation of 12,500 books, which Glendale officials value at
about $500,000, will quadruple the library's collection of 4,000
Armenian-language materials. Because of the size of the donation,
Glendale is expected to share the books with neighboring libraries.
"Forty percent of the population of Glendale is Armenian," said
Cindy Cleary, assistant director of libraries. "We have 660,000 books
in our collection and only 4,000 are Armenian language. It's an
incredible resource, not only to Glendale but to the surrounding
For some of the city's large Armenian American population,
especially the elderly who did not grow up in the United States,
having more Armenian-language books will be welcomed.
"Much of the elderly, they may know how to speak English and read
a few things, but their native tongue is Armenian," said Armen
Carapetian, government relations director of the Armenian National
Committee's western region. "The books will come in particular use by
that segment of the community. It's a tremendous gift."
The library expects to receive the books next week, but Cleary
said it will be six months before any of them are incorporated into
the library's collection. The city is expected to give some of the
books to other area libraries, including public libraries in Pasadena
and Burbank and Cal State Northridge's library.
"From the beginning, it was clear that no one institution could
take the entire collection, just because of the size of the
collection," said Beth Walker, principal librarian for the Pasadena
Public Library. "We don't know if it's the largest, but certainly a
significant one outside of Armenia."
The collection of books is primarily eastern Armenian, and
includes history and literature from 1980 to 1992, including
translations of classics and books on the Armenian Genocide.
"There's a lot of Armenian literature that is in demand and is not
available in the bookstores or other libraries around," Councilman
Rafi Manoukian said. "A collection of that magnitude certainly will
go a long way in meeting that need."
For the past 12 years, since the college closed its doors to
students in 1992, the collection has remained in La Verne but viewed
by appointment only. Last year, the college's board members
approached the Pasadena Public Library about a donation. They also
had discussions with the University of Michigan library, which has an
Armenian Research Center at its Dearborn campus.
"The reason we picked Glendale, the whole board agreed to it, it's
a real hub of a lot of Armenians," said Jack Jandegian, a member of
the college's board of directors. "With the supplement of all these
books with what you've already got there, it's going to be a real big
asset for the city of Glendale."
The college is also donating $25,000 for moving and processing the
collection. The City Council unanimously approved the donation on