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Developing the Next Generation of Native Librarians
School of Information, University of Texas at Austin

 
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Background

Description

Honoring Generations: Developing the Next Generation of Librarians Specializing in Library Services for Indigenous Communities

Tribal librarians serve multiple roles. They preserve tribal culture and history for future generations. They develop collections that support culturally based curriculum and community members’ life-long learning needs. They interpret and create library policies and services that reflect community needs and protocol. They retain special collections, including tribal genealogies and tribal council documents. They assist tribal members to develop reading skills and computer literacy. Tribal librarians are an essential link between generations past and future. The School of Information (SI) at the University of Texas at Austin has received a grant of $341,294 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for Honoring Generations, a scholarship program devoted to Developing the Next Generation of Librarians Specializing in Library Services for Indigenous Communities. The grant was submitted in partnership with the American Indian Library Association (AILA), one of five ethnic organizations affiliated with the American Library Association.

Honoring Generations focuses on four priorities: recruitment, professional education, mentoring, and service-learning. Honoring Generations will provide a cohort of American Indian students with tuition, fees, and monthly stipends to support their educational and basic living expenses during their library school experience. Honoring Generations will support student involvement in community service through financial support for Alternative Spring Break experiences in Indian Country.

Honoring Generations students will complete, within three calendar years, the semester hours required for a Master of Science in Information Studies from the School of Information (SI) at the University of Texas at Austin. These semester hours will include required courses and twenty-one credit hours in elective courses. Students may choose to organize their coursework around one of three themes:
(1) tribal school librarianship;
(2) tribal community (public) librarianship; or
(3) tribal academic librarianship.

The MSIS program at the School of Information is largely an in-residence program that provides students with options to enroll in relevant coursework outside the SI, complete one or more personalized independent studies , and requires all students complete a Capstone or culminating experience.

Honoring Generations students may opt to enroll in a combination of in-resident summer courses and semester-long independent studies. Students in the summer option will receive a financial packet that includes tuition and fees for all coursework, a summer living stipend along with a one-time relocation stipend. The financial packet for students enrolled in the semester-long option will include tuition and fees for all coursework, a monthly stipend, along with a one-time stipend to cover relocation costs.

In addition to enrolling in coursework, Honoring Generations will be invited to attend one of Dr. Roy’s weekly work groups. These are weekly meetings with students involved in If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything, the national reading club for Native children, and students interested in tribal college virtual library development. Honoring Generations students are expected to participate in at least three of the four quarterly online chats scheduled between students, Dr. Roy, and invited indigenous library specialists. These chats are one aspect of Honoring Generations mentoring, which also includes face-to-face group and individual meetings with Dr. Roy and her guided involvement in professional experiences.

Design: Project Goals, Objectives and Outcomes

The goal and objectives of Honoring Generations are:

Goal: To provide an opportunity for American Indian students to pursue and complete graduate degrees from an ALA accredited program and enter the workforce in librarianship.

Objective 1: To provide six American Indian students with sufficient financial support to complete their MSIS degrees from the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin within three years.

Objective 2: To provide American Indian library school students with professional contacts that will sustain them into their professional careers.

Objective 3: To provide American Indian students with close advising on-site from a Native American professor specializing in indigenous library development.

Objective 4: To provide American Indian library school students with the opportunities to engage in community based service experiences, including the weekly work groups and alternative spring break experiences.

Objective 5: To provide members of the American Indian Library Association with an opportunity to become involved in preparing the next generation of American Indian librarians.

Objective 6: To contribute to the literature on recruitment of ethnic librarians through presentations and publications.

Objective 7: To assist in the placement of six Native American librarians in positions in tribal schools, tribal/academic libraries, and tribal/community libraries.

Objective 8: To develop and apply formative and summative evaluation criteria by which to assess the impact of Honoring Generations.

Personnel

Dr. Loriene Roy, Professor in the School of Information, is the Principle Investigator for Honoring Generations. She has served as President of the American Indian Library Association in 1997/1998. Since 1999 she has directed, If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything. She coordinated the development of a virtual library of education resources for tribal college students (http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~vlibrary). She is the recipient, in 2001, of the first Joe and Bette Ward Award for Teaching, Research, and Demonstration Projects that Contribute to Positive Change in Society. From 1997 to 2000, she was a Research Associate for the Four Directions Grant that assisted tribal schools to develop culturally responsive curriculum using technology. She serves on the boards of the International Children’s Digital Library, WebJunction (The Gates Public Library Access Computing Portal), the Sequoyah Research Symposium, the Knowledge River Center for the Study of Hispanic and American Indian Library and Information Resources, and the National Envisioning Committee for the National Conference on Tribal Libraries, Archives, and Museums. She teaches graduate courses in public librarianship, library instruction and information literacy, and information resources in the humanities and social sciences. In 1998, she supervised the development and delivery of an online class for tribal school librarians offered through the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education. She has taught a graduate “Measurement and Evaluation” class and served as the evaluator to measure the impact of Bill & Melinda Gates computer training centers in six tribal communities in Arizona. She served on the Committees that organized the first and second International Indigenous Librarians Forums, held in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand in 1999 and Jokkmokk, Sweden in 2001. She brings a background in project development, evaluation, and collaborative efforts with Native communities. She is enrolled (official member) on the White Earth Reservation (Anishinabe, Pembina Band) which is affiliated with the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. She will serve as the Honoring Generations students’ Faculty Advisor, assisting each student in designing customized courses of study. She will devote 20% of her time to each year of the project.

Sustainability

We have every reason to expect that Honoring Generations graduates will enter the profession prepared to create local change and national and even international impact. Dr. Roy has a strong record of mentoring students and will continue to devote considerable time to furthering the development of indigenous librarianship. One example of her ability to sustain efforts is If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything, which she started in 1999 with $5,000 from ALA President Sarah A. Long. Since its inception in 1999, Dr. Roy has raised over $165,000 in support of If I Can Read. In addition, the project has been able to deliver over $110,000 worth of new books to participating project schools and thousands of dollars in donations of other materials, including incentives for children and direct support of selected schools. The project has expanded from one site to twenty and now includes a national network of volunteers.

The Kellogg Foundation wrote “the face of the 21st Century Native American is both old and new—a testament to the tenacity and vibrant creativity of indigenous peoples.”1 Honoring Generations will be a testament to the role of tribal librarians and the potential they have to change lives they serve as the bridge between generations past and generations yet to come.


1 W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “Profiles in Programming. Native American Higher Education Initiative. Educating the Mind and the Spirit.” [Native American Higher Education Initiative], available at http://www.wkkf.org/pubs/YouthEd/Pub582.pdf.

 
 

Dr. Loriene Roy, Program Director
Anishinabe; Enrolled: White Earth Reservation;
Member: Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
E-mail: loriene@ischool.utexas.edu
Fax: (512) 471-3971

Mailing address:
Honoring Generations
The University of Texas at Austin
School of Information
1 University Station Stop D7000
Austin, TX 78712

Copyright ©2003 School of Information, University of Texas at Austin
Last updated October 7, 2007

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