Last week, the Oro Valley Public Library and the Oro Valley Historical Society unveiled its Heritage Collection section of books at the library.

The collection was funded by an $8,300 grant from the National Institute of Museum and Library services. So far, the groups have used $5,000 to fund the current collection.

With the remaining funds, the library also had a series of 18 presentations over the course of a year from people who are experts in fields related to cultural resources and local and regional history.

Adult Services Librarian Mary Kim Dodson was the one who acquired the grant for the library.

“I’ve been a little involved with the historical society since I worked here,” said Dodson. “We didn’t have a lot of resources in the library that were on this particular subject – particularly local cultural resources. We have stuff in the library, but it is more national or global. We wanted to develop something that would give people who live in Northwest Tucson and Oro Valley an opportunity to learn a little more about where they live and establish a sense of place.”

Dodson turned to the Oro Valley Historical Society’s members Pat Spoerl and Joyce Rychener. Spoerl, who is now a lifetime member of the society, with an education in history and archaeology.

Rychener, who is the Heritage Gardener for the society, has an expertise in heritage gardening.

The two worked with Dodson to pick out the books for the collection

“Many special collections are very specialized,” Spoerl said. “We wanted this one to be unique in that it includes the history, the archaeology, the heritage values, and the primary values. Primary in those is how people acquire food, how they prepare food, and the customs associated with it.”

Spoerl added that one of the best parts was getting to pick out books she didn’t have to pay for.

“It was really interesting to try to put together a list of suggestions pertinent to Oro Valley for a general audience, not just specifically for historians or archaeologists,” she said.

During the unveiling, Oro Valley resident Mary Ann Kowalski was looking through some of the new books made available.

“I’m from Michigan originally, but we have been here in Arizona for about 10 years,” Kowalski said. “First we were like snow birds in SaddleBrooke, and then we moved to Oro Valley because of the library. We are here two or three times a week.”

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