MacArthur Fellows Program

MacArthur Fellows / Meet the Class of 2004

Rueben Martínez

Bookseller

Owner and Founder

Libreria Martinez Books and Art Gallery

Santa Ana, CA

Age: 64

Published September 28, 2004
Portrait of Rueben Martínez

Rueben Martinez has elevated bookselling from a business to a campaign in support of underserved populations in California and throughout America. His Santa Ana bookstore, Libreria Martinez Books and Art Gallery, was originally a barbershop and is now among the largest commercial sellers of Spanish-language books in the country, serving as the cornerstone of cultural events and community activities that promote the benefits of reading to Hispanic-Americans and Spanish-speaking immigrants. A co-founder of the Latino Book Festival (which now tours nationally), Martinez motivates Spanish-speaking people to value literature, to read for themselves, and to read to their children. The record number of enthusiastic adults and children drawn to Libreria Martinez makes the store a destination for leading bilingual and Latino authors. Acclaimed by educators and librarians throughout the country, Martinez’ unique brand of entrepreneurship and advocacy is an important complement to institutional and program efforts to enrich and anchor the lives of a large and growing population in America.

Rueben Martinez has been a professional barber and entrepreneur for more than forty years. In 1993, he founded Libreria Martinez Books and Art Gallery, a small business operating out of his barbershop. By 1999, the bookstore had expanded and moved into its own location, and, in 2001, he launched a second venue dedicated to children’s literature. Martinez is a founding member of Santa Ana’s Reading City Committee. In 1997, he helped develop the multi-city Latino Book Festival.

Photos

Hi-res photos for download. Photos licensed under a Creative Commons license. Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Right-click on the links below to save the file to your computer.

About the Fellows Program

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Learn More

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