The library was begun as a community development project in 1958. A library was chosen because there were few opportunities for borrowing books, and tribal members wanted a library that would be readily accessible to them. Under the direction of the tribal council, Spencer and Emily Hatch organized and established the library in the old tribal office building, which as located near the current site of the Parker Indian Health Center. The Hatches had been involved in rural development work in foreign countries fro many years. When the Hatches returned to the United States in the mid -1950's, they decided they wanted to do development projects in Native American communities. Some friends of theirs at the Save the Children federation suggested they contact CRIT, as they were a progressive tribe.
"We hit the jackpot when they came here."
From the beginning the needs of the tribal members were the primary concern when items were being considered for the library. The first books came from local personal contributions. The State Library Extension Service loaned many books. More contributions came in after a notice was placed in the Save the Children newsletter. When word spread that CRIT was creating a library, books were donated from all over the nation.
In recognition for their work, the tribal council made the Hatches honorary tribal members in 1962. This action reflected the gratitude of tribal members for both Dr.Hatch and his wife Emily, and they have been the only time constituents of the Caucasian race to have been adopted as honorary members of the tribe. The library soon out grew its original facility and was taking up more and more space in the old tribal office building. A new library was built in 1966 as part of the new tribal complex at Four Corners (Second Avenue and Mohave Road). The library shared the facility with the CRIT Museum.
The new library building was dedicated in 1970. The keynote speaker was Arizona governor Jack Williams. With the museum being moved into the old Parker Theater, now located at the Safeway Plaza, the library underwent a renovation project (funded by a State Library Construction Grant) which greatly expanded the area for the library. In addition to more room the the collection of books, there is now more office space, a computer lab, expanded archives area, and a large Native American collection. In addition to these expansions the entire facility is handicap accessible.
The Colorado River Indian Tribes Library & Archives promotes intellectual freedom, inspires ideas to the community at large, enriches tribal life by satisfying the desire of understand personal heritage; supports cultural awareness, and advocates the preservation and documentation of the Mohave, Chemehuevi, Navajo, and Hopi cultures for future generations.
The Colorado River Indian Tribes Library & Archives will be the destination for learning about tribal culture and educating the community. With our various resources we hope to extend a helping hand to those that want to learn. We will provide a learning atmosphere excelling at providing the equipment necessary for those to succeed.