College Librarians Gain Skills at MSU Institute

Nov 15th, 2003 | By | Category: 15-2: Reclaiming Native Health, Tribal College News

Early in June 2003, tribal college librarians attended the annual, week-long Professional Development Institute in Bozeman, MT. They had the opportunity to make important contacts, learn, grow, and network with each other. The event focused on preserving and digitizing photograph collections, organizing oral history projects, health research, the National Museum of the American Indian Mall Resource Center, Tribal College Virtual Library, and cultural awareness about Canadian indigenous people’s issues. A total of 35 participants came from 31 tribal institutions.

The institute started in 1993 through the efforts of certain librarians, especially Kathy Kaya of Montana State University (MSU). Kaya and Mary Anne Hansen of MSU coordinated this year’s training, which was especially helpful to new librarians, according to Betty J. Mason (Muscogee), the librarian at D-Q University.

Little Priest Tribal College Librarian Gretchen Healy remembers the early years of the institutes. “Long before the tribal college campuses were connected to the Internet, institute organizers provided all of us with e-mail addresses and taught us how to use e-mail and the Internet, kept us abreast of the rapid changes in technology, and organized a listserv so we could keep in touch with each other. They brought in leaders in our field to teach us the finer points of tribal college library management, policies, archives, library automation, new library construction, and the selection of Native American materials. They provided a forum for us to discuss and organize around issues of intellectual freedom, tribal politics, budgets, and visibility.”

For this year’s institute, travel and attendance for many was paid for by Department of Education Title III professional development funds or subsidized by grants from the National Agriculture Library, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from EBSCO subscription services.

The archives of all the past institutes as well as links to real and virtual librarians and their library resources can be found at the TCLI website

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